The sculpture of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875) epitomizes the elegance and frivolity of the Second Empire. He studied under François Rude at the École des Beaux Arts and Francisque Duret before winning the prix de Rome in 1854. Subsequently establishing his reputation at the Villa Medici, Carpeaux returned to Paris in 1862 and soon became the favourite sculptor of the Imperial family. Probably unsurpassed as a portrait sculptor in the mid-19th century, Carpeaux was famed for his fluidity and naturalism of style. However the Franco-Prussian war brought harder times and La Frileuse was actually conceived by Carpeaux in London, where he sought refuge from the events of the Paris Commune in 1871. Sales of his reproductions were held in London, Paris and Brussels in 1873 and his family continued to produce posthumous editions of his work with the Propriété Carpeaux cachet.