Completed London: Artists and Subjects, Sculpture 13 Could this bust of Charles Thomas Longley at Lambeth Palace be by Edward Davis (1813–1878)?

Topic: Artist

The sitter, Charles Thomas Longley (1794–1868), was Bishop of Ripon, Bishop of Durham and Archbishop of York, before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury (1862–1868).

Other sculptures by Edward Davis on Art UK include ‘Sir Francis Rowlands (1788–1873)’, 1871, Kelmscott House and ‘Richard Quain (1816–1898)’, 1870, Senate House, University of London.

There are also several oil portraits of Longley in public collections.

Andrew Shore, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The recorded sculptor ‘E. Davis’ was identified as Edward Davis (1813–1878) and the bust dated to 1844. The dates of Longley’s terms as Bishop of Ripon and Archbishop of Canterbury were added to the title.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


Michael Hurman,

Kieran's link shows that the bust was of Charles Thomas Longley in brackets after Lord Bishop of Ripon.

Kieran Owens,

The Leeds Intelligencer, of Saturday 23rd November 1850, in a report on a "Conversazione at the Leeds Government School of Design" mentions that "Mr. Teale very kindly contributed Davis's bust of the Bishop of Ripon."

This Mr. Teale could be Thomas Pridgin Teale (1800 - 1867), MRCS 1823, FLS, the "capable surgeon of the Leeds General Infirmary who had diagnosed Anne Bronte's illness as pulmonary tuberculosis in January 1849". Both Longley and Teale feature in various connections to the Bronte family.

Edward Davis, from his address at 17, Russell Place, Fitzroy Square, contributed the work to the 1844 exhibition of the Royal Academy, under the title of "Marble Bust of the Lord Bishop of Ripon" and as catalogue number 1355.

Charles Thomas Longley (1794 – 1868) was headmaster of Harrow from 1829 to 1836; Bishop of Ripon from 1836 to 1856; Bishop of Durham from 1856 to 1860; Archbishop of York from 1860 to 1862, and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1862 to 1868 (the year of his death).

Finally, the bust was identified as being by Edward Davis and was dated to 1844 on page 136 of the "Dictionary of British Portraiture: ....Later Georgians and early Victorians, historical figures born between 1700 and 1800" by Richard Ormond, Malcolm Rogers and Adriana Davies (Oxford University Press, 1980).

Thus, assuming that it is the same work as identified above, this Discussion's bust can be dated to 1844, and the artist identified as Edward Davis (1813 - 1878).

Kieran Owens,

Sorry Michael, I did not see your excellent posting before I sent my latest.

Jacinto Regalado,

The given date of 1836 in the entry is presumably based on what is inscribed on the bust, although we cannot see it in the available images. The collection should confirm or clarify that date.

I was trying to re-establish contact this week with Lambeth Palace about their submissions, so I have asked if they are happy with the Edward Davis attribution and if they could clarify the 1836 dating from their records or by examining the bust itself.

The Collection has commented: 'Consider the pubic discussion validated – the back of the bust confirms the work is by Edward Davis and dated 1836. Picture attached. The paper sticker covering E.Davis inscription is of the same type and same handwriting as those we see elsewhere in the palace and some are dated 1948 so we believe there was an inventory post war – sadly we have no record of it'

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Mark Wilson,

The 1836 presumably refers to the date the sitter became Bishop of Ripon. It looks like there's a '4' on the lower inscription which presumably reads:


with some of the letters obscured by the remnants of the piece of paper. Which ties in with the other information above.

Katharine, with Mark's pertinent point, would you be happy to see this discussion now closed, confirming Edward Davis as the sculptor and 1844 as the date of work, following Michael's and Kieran's comments? My email address if more convenient for you in terms of replying is Regards, David

Katharine Eustace, Sculpture,

I am not clear why this came up for discussion in the first place, as the answer is ‘as it says on the tin’: inscribed with the name of the subject, signed and dated. It is, however, a good example of the importance of collating basic inventory information, what might be called the meta-data, and as a reminder that with sculpture the back may be as important as the front.

The Dictionary (YUP, 2009) gives two versions of Davis’s bust of Charles Longley, both apparently at Lambeth Palace. The signed version is said to be of the sitter as Archbishop of Canterbury, and dated ‘post-1836’, while the other has him as Bishop of Ripon and dated 1844 (citing Ormond et al, itself a reference to 'A. Graves’s Royal Academy… Dictionary of Contributors', 1905); clearly those entries need conflating, or is there indeed another lurking at Lambeth?

On a note of caution the date given on the rim of the bust of ‘1836’, may well mark his appointment to the See of Ripon, but it might equally commemorate his leaving Harrow School. A further note of incidental interest, and following Kieran Owens’s reference to ‘Mr Teale’ of Leeds, the Brontes, Longley and Davis, Edward Davis’s father, David Daniel Davis of Llandyfaelog, was the physician who delivered Queen Victoria.

There is a carte de visite by Herbert Watkins (1828-1916) of 215 Regent Street, London, of Edward Davis towards the end of his career. It was presented, interestingly, by the redoubtable sculpture historian, Mrs Esdaile in 1932; [NPG Ax28964]. A prolific portrait sculptor, an astonishing number of Davis’s works are untraced, their only record being the annual Royal Academy Summer Exhibition catalogues (ie Graves). Firmly attributed, signed and dated examples are thus all the more important, and having established the facts to everyone’s satisfaction, we can close the discussion, thanking everyone for their active participation and contributions.