EXCEPTIONAL JEAN-ANTOINE HOUDON BUST ADMIRAL JOHN PAUL JONES TERRA COTTA PLASTER "BRONZE"
Exceptional, antique, life size bust of American Revolutionary War hero Admiral John Paul Jones. Bronze painted terra cotta over plaster. Signed "Houdon" as well as "Millet." In 1904, Francis Davis (F.D.) Millet was authorized to make 14 casts in plaster and six in bronze. It is possible this piece is one of those. (Millet perished on the Titanic.)
I acquired this from a dealer in Northern California who acquired it from a private estate. It is marked on the back with a hand painted "63." This may be a museum/collection accession number. There is also evidence of a label that has been removed.
The story of the Houdon bust of Jones is an interesting one. French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon sculpted the original (of terra cotta and plaster) in Paris in 1781. Jones was so fond of the bust he had several additional busts cast, which he distributed to various associates and dignitaries. Jones's image is considered a bit romanticized in the piece, but the bust is recognized to be true to Jones's actual dimensions and was used to identify his remains when his body was found after having been lost for many years. Jones died in 1792 just after his 45th birthday, but was not given an autopsy until 1905, 114 years after his death.
The bust is 27 5/8 in. (70.2 cm) tall, and 19 in. (48.6 cm) wide at the widest point. The base is about 8 1/4 inches square. It weighs 30 pounds.
Due to its size, this item must be shipped freight. Please contact us for a shipping quote.