Monday, 19 February 2018

Bust of Madame de Serilly

The Marble Bust of  Anne Marie Thomas de Domangeville,
Madame de Serilly,
Comptesse de Pange. (1762- 1799).
Aged 19.

Jean Antoine Houdon (1741 - 1828).

Signed Houdon f. 1782.
Height 62 cms.
Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London.

Provenance - Auction at Theil (Yonne), c. 1864. Duc de Morny; duc de Morny sale, May 1865, perhaps no. 445; Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford.

I have long admired this bust but certain aspects of it have bothered me, it  is a very beautiful bust of a very beautiful young woman, but a cynic might suggest that it is possibly a (workshop?) copy. It appears to have been fairly recently conserved and give a modern polished finish - micro crystalline wax?
The marble is surprisingly flawed with various dark marks which detract from her appearance, the ones on the tip of her nose are very noticeable. The cleaning has probably enhanced these flaws
It also is missing the bow on her breast seen on the Chicago bust (below).

It is possible that the original which is of a much purer white marble is that in the Art Institute of Chicago (see below).

For a reasonable overview of the life of Madame de Serilly 
see -

For Houdon see - Exhibition Catalogue - Jean Antoine Houdon - Sculptor of the Enlightenment - National Gallery of Art, Washington / University of Chicago Press.

All photographs above taken by the author, on a visit to The Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London in order to photograph the bust of Queen Caroline by Michael Rysbrack and King Charles I by Louis Francois Roubiliac.


Marble bust of Madame de Serilly
89.9 cms

Art Institute of Chicago

see -


Madame de Serilly
Plaster Cast

Madame de Serilly
Plaster Cast of about 1925.
from the Wallace Collection version
note the missing bow on her breast.

Victoria and Albert Museum.

see -

No comments:

Post a Comment