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Bust - Claude-Joseph Vernet
  • Claude-Joseph Vernet
    Boizot, Louis-Simon, born 1743 - died 1809
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Claude-Joseph Vernet

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    1783 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Boizot, Louis-Simon, born 1743 - died 1809 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze on marble base

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 4, case PL1

This bust is the masterpiece in portraiture by the sculptor, Louis-Simon Boizot (1743-1809). It represents Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-1789), a celebrated landscape and marine painter and 'Peintre du Roi' (painter to the King). He was the maternal uncle of Boizot's wife. It may well have been commissioned by an admirer of Vernet, perhaps a collector of his paintings, and portrays him à l’antique; a format characteristic of the Neoclassical style and derived from the busts of Classical antiquity.

Boizot studied at the Académie Royale in Paris, and in Rome having won the Prix de Rome in 1762. He was accepted as a full member of the Académie in 1778 and thereafter exhibited regularly at the official Salons. This bust was exhibited at the Salon in 1783. Boizot returned to his preparatory model from which it was made when he was asked to create a marble bust of Vernet for the Grande Galerie of the Louvre in 1806.

Boizot is better known for small-scale and decorative sculpture. He was artistic director of the sculpture studio at the Sèvres Porcelain factory where he oversaw the design of over 150 models in biscuit porcelain, of which the V&A has several examples.

Physical description

The subject is shown facing to his half left and stooping forward. He wears a Roman toga and his hair is close-cropped. The bust is set on a square socle of reddish marble.

Place of Origin

France (made)


1783 (made)


Boizot, Louis-Simon, born 1743 - died 1809 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Bronze on marble base


Height: 69.3 cm with socle, Height: 53.5 cm without socle, Width: 38 cm, Depth: 30 cm

Object history note

Bought, Sotheby's for £240, in 1959. Exhibited in the Salon of 1783. In the Louvre is a marble version.

Descriptive line

Bust, bronze, Claude-Joseph Vernet, by Louis-Simon Boizot, French, 1783

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Bresc-Bautier, Geneviève & Scherf, Guilhem (eds.), Cast in bronze : French sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution, Paris : Musée du Louvre Éditions : Somogy Art Publishers, 2009
Hodgkinson, Terence, French Eighteenth Century Portrait Sculptures in the Victoria and Albert Museum, in V&A Yearbook 3, 1972, pp.111
Picquenard, T., "Boizot et le Portrait", in: Scherf, G. (ed.), Augustin Pajonet et ses Contemporains, Actes du colloque, Museé du Louvre, 1997, Paris, 1999, p. 506, figs. 13 & 14 and pp. 494-6

Labels and date

Claude-Joseph Vernet

The sitter for this expressive and animated portrait was a painter of landscape and marine scenes. As was typical of the Neoclassical style, he is portrayed in the manner of busts of Roman emperors. He is shown with closely cropped hair and a draped gown, rather than in contemporary wig and fashionable clothes.

France (Paris)
By Louis-Simon Boizot

The Encyclopédie, Vol. 14, 1765:

‘Sculpture: in its endeavours to imitate the surfaces of the human body, sculpture must not be satisfied with cold resemblance. It is living, vivid, passionate nature that the sculptor must express through marble, bronze, stone, etc.’ [09/12/2015]


Bronze; Marble


Bronze; Portraits; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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