A French plaster bust of the Comtesse du Barry, 19th century
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A French plaster bust of the Comtesse du Barry, 19th century

Details
A French plaster bust of the Comtesse du Barry, 19th century
Modelled after Jean-Jacques Caffiéri, her head to sinister, her décolletage loosely draped, on a waisted square socle, the reverse inscribed PORTRAIT DE MADAME LA CONTESSE DU BARRY, PAR PAJOU.SECU.DU ROY...1773, restorations -- 28¼in. (71.8cm.) high
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Lot Essay

Marie-Jeanne Bécu worked as an assistant for the Paris dressmaker, Labille, where she came to the attention of Compte Jean du Barry. He was so impressed by her that he installed her at his house where she presided over a celebrated literary circle, later marrying the brother of her sponsor, Compte Guillaume du Barry. She was presented at Court in 1769, but had probably already become the mistress of King Louis XV by then. On his death in 1774 Madame du Barry retired to a convent, where she resided until her arrest during the Revolution. She was guillotined in 1793.
The original marble model upon which this bust is based is housed in the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.
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