This life-size marble figure depicts a nude nymph, who having removed her robes, is poised to bath herself. The subject is drawn from Greek mythology, where nymphs are associated with springs, and expertly hewn with a neo-classical elegance of form and purity of line.
Jules Blanchard (1832-1916) was born in Puiseaux where his natural talent for drawing and sculpture won him an apprenticeship in the Paris atelier of François Jouffroy (1806-1882) alongside Louis-Ernest Barrias, Alexandre Falguière and Antonin Mercié.
In addition to on-going commissions in his hometown of Puiseaux, Blanchard was heavily involved, like many of his contemporaries, in the reconstruction of the Paris Hôtel de Ville from 1875, contributing an over-life-size bronze La Science for the forecourt and various internal and external architectural sculptures. Blanchard was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur in 1881. He won medals at the 1866, 1867 and 1873 Salons, a médaille d'Or at the Exposition Universelle of 1889, and was a member of the jury for the 1900 exhibition. The present figure is similar in scale and subject to Blanchard's marble of Andromeda which was exhibited at the Salon of 1892 and subsequently donated to the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes in 1901. In 1912 it was acquired by the Musée du Luxembourg where it remains on display in the gardens. His marble La Bocca de la Verita, is also displayed in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris.
Surviving examples of marble statuary by Blanchard, particularly on such a grand scale as here, are rare.