Emile Louis Picault trained under Royer and exhibited a wide range of sculpture at the Salon between 1863 and 1909. His Orientalist subjects are some of his most popular works and follow in the tradition of ethnographic-based artwork in France during the second half of the 19th Century.
With premises at 137, rue Vieille-du-Temple, the fondeur, G. Servant specialized in Egyptian Revival pieces and was a medallist at the major international exhibitions between 1867 and 1887.
Nitocris succeeded Menthuophis, either her husband or her brother, as ruler of Egypt following his murder, circa 2200 B.C. Her six year reign witnessed two important events: the completion of the third pyramid, and the dreadful revenge exacted upon the murderers of Menthuophis. In order to accomplish the latter, the Queen organised a banquet for all the accomplices in a specially constructed underground chamber. At the height of the feasting, the chamber was suddenly flooded with water brought from the Nile by means of a concealed pipe. Everyone drowned except for Nitocris, who escaped only to take her life in an ash pit, rather than face punishment.
A pair of larger casts of the present models were sold Sotheby's London, 25 September 1992, lot 99 (£31,000).