Marguérite Le Comte thumbnail 1
Marguérite Le Comte thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Europe 1600-1815, Room 4

Marguérite Le Comte

Bust
ca. 1750 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Bronze
Brief Description
Bust, bronze, of Marguérite Le Comte, by Guillaume Coustou II, French, middle of 18th century
Dimensions
  • Incl. socle, which is cast in one with the bust height: 59cm
  • Width: 29cm
  • Depth: 20cm
  • Weight: 15kg
Marks and Inscriptions
'MA ME LECOMTE / PAR GUILLAUME / COUSTOU FILS' (Inscribed at the front of socle.)
Gallery Label
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)
Credit line
Purchased with funds from the John Webb Trust and the Bryan Bequest
Object history
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.
Subject depicted
Summary
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.
Collection
Accession Number
A.1-1962

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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