The Comte du Passage initially pursued a military career in accordance with his family's expectations but indulged his natural talent for sculpture by studying under the famed animaliers Barye and Mêne and exhibiting at the Paris Salon from 1865-93.
The monogram on the blanket of the horse is possibly that of Henri d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale (1822-1897), the fifth son of King Louis-Philippe. He inherited Château de Chantilly at the age of eight and entirely rebuilt it from 1875, adding a grandstand for the famous racecourse in 1879. The bronze, dated 1885, may depict one of the duc d'Aumale's thoroughbreds or commemorate the bequest of the Château, grand stables and racecourse to the Institut de France in 1884.
Another cast of this model sold Christie's, London, 18 May 2007, lot 100 (£14,400).