Past Events

Originals, Translation and Imitations: The Images and Texts of Alexander Pope


  • 12 July 2014
  • 9:45 – 5:45 pm
  • Waddesdon Manor

A One Day Conference organised by Waddesdon Manor (the Rothschild Foundation) in collaboration with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

This conference will explore some central themes running through the exhibition, Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain, organised jointly by the Rothschild Foundation and Waddesdon Manor with the Yale Center for British Art. At the heart of the exhibition are eight portrait busts of the poet Alexander Pope by Roubiliac along with various replications of this model. These images imitate classical portrait busts, translating the conventions of the originals into an eighteenth-century mode. At the same time, the replications translate Roubiliac’s original into other media, such as plaster or ceramic. At Waddesdon these various images will not only shown not only alongside both some of the most celebrated painted portraits of the poet and examples of his printed texts , but also juxtaposed with French works celebrating Pope and other writers. These various processes of imitation and translation could hardly be more appropriate for a subject whose contemporary fame rested partly on his own translations of Homer and whose poetry constantly imitated classical models. In its turn, Pope’s work was itself translated into French. All the papers in this conference will address different aspects of imitation and translation, in the form of both images and texts.

Bust of man's head and shoulders

Louis François Roubiliac, Alexander Pope, circa 1760, marble

Digital image courtesy of The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor, photo by Mike Fear