Offered by Baptiste Jamez
Fine arts and antiques
Sèvres porcelain biscuit bust representing Queen MARIE-ANTOINETTE sovereign of France, resting on a porcelain pedestal enhanced with gold. This bust was executed after a model by Louis-Simon BOIZOT (1743-1809). It depicts the Queen in bust, head slightly turned to the right, lace appearing under an ermine-lined mantle draped over the shoulders, a tiara adorned with precious stones in her hair.
It rests on a porcelain pedestal in the famous cobalt blue color, known as "bleu de Sèvres", decorated with a cartouche bearing the name of the sovereign. The pedestal and cartouche are entirely enhanced with pure gold fillets.
Queen MARIE-ANTOINETTE met Louis-Simon BOIZOT in 1774, during a visit to the Manufacture de Sèvres where he had just taken over the sculpture workshops, succeeding the sculptor Étienne-Maurice FALCONET (1716-1791). The realization of a bust with posing session is decided. A model, the size of our bust, is presented to the sovereign, who declares herself very satisfied with the result. Several bisque porcelain busts are therefore made, of several sizes.
One of the first versions is placed in the Queen's gilded cabinet at the CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES, currently kept in the library supplement of the Queen's small apartments. Another copy from the same period is in the bedroom, and finally the most famous copy in the large dining room of the Petit Trianon. Broken during the Revolution, it will be restored under Napoleon III, a period when the taste of Queen MARIE-ANTOINETTE was "fashionable". It is the restoration of this bust that allows the rediscovery of this model and initiates a wave of reissues by the Manufacture, which will lead to the realization of many more or less successful variants by other houses. However, these "modern" examples will be no less prestigious and will still be exhibited in major museums and private collections. Among these examples from the Manufacture de Sèvres, generally comprising a pedestal in the famous cobalt blue, we can particularly note the one present in the so-called "Marie-Antoinette" room at the Hôtel de la Marine (1995), the one appearing in the grand salon of the hotel of the prefecture of Melun, another at the Château de COMPIÈGNE. One of these versions, erroneously attributed to a model by Pajou, is also on display at SCHÖNBRUNN Palace. In 1775, the Queen sent a copy of this bust to Vienna as a gift to her mother, Empress MARIE-THÉRÈSE.
The Queen will appreciate her bust so much that she will have BOIZOT create a version of it as Diana the Huntress, wearing a long twisted braid, the dress becoming an antique tunic and the coat lined with ermine the skin of 'a wild beast. This bust, probably made of marble, was presented at the Salon of 1775 and met with great success there. Only a plaster version is known, however.
MUSEUMS AND PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS
• MANUFACTURE DE SÈVRES, MUSÉE DES MODÈLES, SÈVRES – Modèle en plâtre d'un biscuit de Sèvres par Boizot – plaster, circa 1774.
• CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES ET TRIANON, VERSAILLES – Buste de Marie-Antoinette – porcelain biscuit, circa 1774-1775.
• CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES ET TRIANON, VERSAILLES – Marie-Antoinette en buste – porcelain biscuit, circa 1774-1775.
• CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES ET TRIANON, VERSAILLES – Buste – porcelain biscuit, circa 1775.
• CHÂTEAU DE COMPIÈGNE, COMPIÈGNE – Buste de Marie-Antoinette – porcelain biscuit, 1910.
• HÔTEL DE LA PRÉFECTURE, MELUN – Buste sur piédouche : Marie-Antoinette – porcelain biscuit.
• CHÂTEAU DE MAINTENON, MAINTENON – Buste en biscuit de Sèvres de Marie-Antoinette – porcelain.
• MUSÉE DES BEAUX-ARTS ET D’ARCHÉOLOGIE, BESANÇON – Marie-Antoinette de Lorraine-Habsbourg, reine de France – porcelain biscuit, circa, 18th c.
• SCHLOSS SCHÖNBRUNN, VIENNE (Autriche) – Buste de Marie-Antoinette – porcelain biscuit.