A Pair of Hard-Paste Sèvres Porcelain Busts of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, circa 1785
These un-glazed ‘biscuit’ porcelain busts of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette were produced at Sèvres from 1785. The King was certainly modelled after an original by the sculptor Louis-Simon Boizot and it is thought the Queen also.
There has been a pair of this model in the British Royal Collection since at least 1811 and others are in collections such as in the Musée Nationale de Céramique, Cité de la Céramique, Sèvres, in the Rothschild-Rosebery collection at Dalmeny House, Scotland and in the Musée du Château de Versailles. Single busts of Louis XVI are in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, USA and in the State Hermitage, St. Petersburg; a single bust of Marie-Antoinette is in the Musée Carnavalet, Paris.
This model was sometimes given away as a diplomatic present; for example to Duke Albert of Sachsen-Teschen (a brother-in-law of Marie-Antoinette and founder of the Albertina collection in Vienna) in 1786 and to the ambassadors of Tipoo Sultan in 1788 (three pairs were given to him, one of those pairs is now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London).
Louis XVI height 38cm.
Marie-Antoinette height 40.5cm.