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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Europe 1600-1815, Room 4

Unknown man

Bust
06/1786 (signed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This man represented by this terracotta bust has not yet been identified although it is a signed and dated (June 1786) work. He wears a periwig, the queue tied with a ribbon. His broad collared coat shows three buttons on each side. Above the lapels are visible a lace frill and the collar of a waistcoat. The neck is bound with a stock.

The sculptor, Pierre Merard (? - 1800), was a pupil of Edmé Bouchardon (1698-1762) and exhibited at the Salons in Paris in the 1790s. He died in 1800. His recorded work largely consists of busts and portrait medallions.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Terracotta
Brief Description
Unknown man, terracotta bust by Pierre Merard, France, signed and dated June 1786
Physical Description
Bust of a man in terracotta. The subject, an unknown man, looks half left. He wears a periwig, the queue tied with a ribbon. His broad collared coat shows three buttons on each side. Above the lapels are visible a lace frill and the collar of a waistcoat. The neck is bound with a stock.
Dimensions
  • Height: 56cm
  • Width: 43cm
  • Depth: 25cm
Bottom of bust is rounded, so may need a socle. Currently on a shallow square black marble base, height 4cm. Part crated when measured. Measured by Glyn Davies and Lois Salter on 8th October 2012.
Marks and Inscriptions
Par Merard En Juin 1786 (on the back, just above the truncation, on the left.)
Gallery Label
  • Bust of a Man 1786 The unidentified sitter is fashionably dressed in a double-breasted coat with a wide turned-down collar and large buttons. He wears a wig and a linen stock tightly wound at his neck, and displays his shirt ruffles down his front. Alert, poised and stylishly dressed, his appearance is one of great confidence. France By Pierre Mérard Terracotta Bought with funds from the John Webb Trust The Encyclopédie, Vol. 1, 1751: ‘Appearance. Properly speaking the external surface of something, or in general what first affects the senses, spirit and imagination. Our errors almost all come from our haste to judge things, and, in our hurry, do not allow us to distinguish truth from what is mere appearance.’(09/12/2015)
  • AN UNKNOWN MAN French (Paris); signed and dated June 1786 By Pierre Merard (d. 1800) Purchased by the John Webb Trust (1993 - 2011)
Credit line
Bought with funds from the John Webb Trust
Object history
The subject of this bust has not been identified.



Historical significance: Pierre Merard (? - 1800) was a pupil of Bouchardon. Received by the Academie de S. Luc in 1763, he exhibited in the Salon de S. Luc in 1774 and in the Salons of the Louvre of 1795, 1796 and 1799. He died in 1800. His recorded work largely consists of busts and portrait medallions. He is best known for his bust of the Prince of Conti, of which the terracotta (signed October 1776) is in the Museum at Dijon. Versailles possesses a plaster. Two marbles exist, both dated 1777 (one belongs to Duchesse de Rohan, Chateau de Josselin, Brittany, the whereabouts of the other is unknown - information supplied in letter to Sculpture Dept by Louis Reau).



There is a terracotta bust of an unknown man by Mérard in the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas (1952.0011). A terracotta bust of Claude François Moreau of 1769 was sold by Sotheby's (1990, 1997 and 2000).
Summary
This man represented by this terracotta bust has not yet been identified although it is a signed and dated (June 1786) work. He wears a periwig, the queue tied with a ribbon. His broad collared coat shows three buttons on each side. Above the lapels are visible a lace frill and the collar of a waistcoat. The neck is bound with a stock.



The sculptor, Pierre Merard (? - 1800), was a pupil of Edmé Bouchardon (1698-1762) and exhibited at the Salons in Paris in the 1790s. He died in 1800. His recorded work largely consists of busts and portrait medallions.
Bibliographic Reference
Hodgkinson, T., French Eighteenth Century Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum, in V&A Museum Yearbook, 1972
Collection
Accession Number
A.4-1949

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record createdMarch 1, 2004
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