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Bust - Marguérite Le Comte
  • Marguérite Le Comte
    Coustou II, Guillaume, born 1617 - died 1777
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Marguérite Le Comte

  • Object:

    Bust

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1750 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Coustou II, Guillaume, born 1617 - died 1777 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze

  • Museum number:

    A.1-1962

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 4, case WE

Madame Marguérite Le Comte (b. 1719) is the subject of this bronze portrait bust by Guillaume Coustou II (1716-1777), which dates from the middle of the 18th century. Coustou was part of a family of sculptors. He won the Prix de Rome in 1735 which entitled him to study in Rome at the prestigious French Academy 1736-39, and he went on to have a successful career.

Madame Le Comte was the wife of a 'procureur au Chatelet' (official prosecutor for the judicial area of Chatelet, in Paris). She was also the mistress of the wealthy Academician (painter) Henri Watelet and they travelled to Italy together. Watelet's book on the Art of Painting (Art de Peindre), 1760, was illustrated by Marguerite Le Comte. An account of their trip to Italy was published in 1764.

Place of Origin

France (made)

Date

ca. 1750 (made)

Artist/maker

Coustou II, Guillaume, born 1617 - died 1777 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Bronze

Marks and inscriptions

'MA ME LECOMTE / PAR GUILLAUME / COUSTOU FILS'
Inscribed at the front of socle.

Dimensions

Height: 59 cm incl. socle, which is cast in one with the bust, Width: 29 cm, Depth: 20 cm, Weight: 15 kg

Object history note

Bought from Mr. David Drey for £500, with £175 from the John Webb Trust and £305 from the Bryan Bequest and £20 from the Purchase Grant.
Miss Gwen P. Willson called the Museum on 10th Dec. 1965 and gave the following information on this object: Bought by her father who was a dealer of 48, Pall Mall in November 1912, from a German agent, R. Lippmann, who stated that it came from an old German family, whose name he would not disclose, for £2,200. Mr. Willson failed to sell the bust and eventually it was sold on behalf of his widow for £250 (about) at Phillips Son and Neale in the Autumn of 1961.

Descriptive line

Bust, bronze, of Marguérite Le Comte, by Guillaume Coustou II, French, middle of 18th century

Labels and date

Marguerite Le Comte
About 1750

Marguerite Le Comte was an accomplished amateur artist and the wife of a high-ranking civil servant. She was the long-term mistress of the wealthy art theorist Claude-Henri Watelet, who taught her pastel painting and with whom she later travelled to Italy. She illustrated his The Art of Painting, published in 1760, and became a member of the Academies of Rome, Florence, Parma and Naples.

France (Paris)
By Guillaume Coustou II
Bronze
Purchased with funds from the John Webb Trust and the Bryan Bequest

The Encyclopédie, Vol. 6, 1756:

‘Woman: Men, according to the prerogatives of their sex and the force of their temperament, are naturally capable of all sorts of employment and activities; whereas women, due to the fragility of their sex and their natural delicacy, are excluded from many functions and incapable of certain activities.’ [09/12/2015]

Materials

Bronze

Categories

Bronze; Portraits; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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