The first version of Serpent python avalant une biche dates from 1840. One of five works by Barye rejected by the Salon committee in 1843, the model was offered in Besse's catalogue published the following year with the comment: "Voici encore un de ses combats qu'affectionne Barye, sans doute parce qu'il les rend si bien. Celui-là du moins paraît plus égal, c'est un animal qui peut se défendre contre un animal qui vient l'attaquer; cependant, ici comme ailleurs, la victoire sera pour le serpent". Apparently unedited after the 1840s, the modèle did not subsequently feature in the 1876 Atelier sale, and therefore no posthumous editions of the first version appear to have been cast. In this second version, Barye has re-worked the pose of the doe and substituted the plain, oval base of the 1840 model with a more naturalistic variant. This version was offered from 1857-8 and was edited posthumously by Barbedienne. The unidentified initials B.V.C. and inventory number to the underside of this cast confirm that it was in the same collection as the previous lot.