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Sèvres porcelain factory

Marie-Antoinette c.1786-8

RCIN 39497

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George IV had an especially keen interest in the history of France under the Bourbons and earlier dynasties, and he assembled a gallery of biscuit figures of the kings of France, ranging from Louis XII to Louis XVIII. Of the busts only a pair, of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, survive in the Royal Collection.

Here Marie-Antoinette wears a diadem on her head and a string of pearls in her hair.

Busts in biscuit porcelain of the King and Queen were produced throughout their reign and modelled by a variety of sculptors. The matt white surface of the unglazed and undecorated porcelain resembles flawless marble. This pair, modelled by the sculptor Louis-Simon Boizot, dates from 1785. Often sold as pairs, many featured in the end-of-year sales held at Versailles.

Text adapted from French Porcelain for English Palaces, Sèvres from the Royal Collection, London, 2009