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Sculpture of the Day: Two Chinese Figures, 1752-1754

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

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Two Chinese Figures
French, 1752-1754
Acquired by King George IV while Prince Regent
The Royal Collection
This soft-paste porcelain figural group is considered one of the most ambitious sculptures ever attempted by the artists at Vincennes. Not only is the group large—standing at almost nineteen inches tall—but it’s extremely complicated and heavily detailed.


The scene depicts a young boy standing on a coral-strewn beach who approaches a regal young woman, reclining on a tasseled pillow. Minor imperfections can be seen in the sculpture, upon close inspection, showing the difficulty the artists faces in creating the complex central basket and the intricate folds and patterns of the figure’s costumes.

King George IV was drawn to chinoiserie and works with an Asian influence and purchased this piece while still Prince Regent. At some point in the Nineteenth century, the group was incorporated into an elaborate French clock case. At the time, the group was painted with gold details to match the clock case. While the clock is no longer in existence, the gold details remain, making the group appear to have even more depth.

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