Bust of H.M. King Mongkut, Rama IV

Bust of H.M. King Mongkut, Rama IV - Gift of King Rama V, 1876

Bust of H.M. King Mongkut, Rama IV
Gift of King Chulalongkorn, 1876
Centennial Exposition, Siam Exhibit
Copper plating, plaster, paint
Department of Anthropology,
# E27439 (4003-A)
Height 80.14 cm x width at shoulders 50.6 cm x
depth of base 20.6 cm

This painted plaster bust of King Mongkut is a portrait unusually Western in style. King Mongkut’s decorations are the Ancient and Auspicious Order of the Nine Gems and the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant. The years of King Mongkut’s reign are painted in English on a label at the base of the bust.

The artist was most probably Phra Ong Chao (Prince) Pradit Warakan, a distinguished sculptor and director of Royal artists in the Royal Arts Guild Chang Sip Mu. Prince Pradit created sculptures of all of the past kings of Siam for the Royal Pantheon at the Grand Palace at the order of King Mongkut, Rama IV, a commission he completed during the reign of King Rama V.

The norm in the history of Thai art was for artists to remain anonymous and works of art as a rule were not signed. Often these works were collaborative efforts undertaken in service to the King or to other patrons. It is through lists of the Chang Sip Mu that the identities of artists can be discovered. Artists’ careers can be tracked through these lists, however, in the Thai system of ranks, their personal names were dropped in favor of titles of ranks. Unless specific works are cited in written histories of the court as works of a particular artist, we can only speculate that the artist in charge of the particular medium ultimately designed and directed the work.

Gallery 1

1a. Robert's Treaty, 1833

1b. Harris Treaty, 1856

1c. Status & Rank of the Presidents

Gallery 2

2a. H.M. King Chulongkorn's Gifts

2b. Centennial Exposition, 1876

2c. 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition

Gallery 3

3a. Institutional Gifts

3b. Recent Gifts to the US

3c. Thai Royal Gifts in Perspective

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