A Beautifully Carved Early 18thC Portland Stone Bust of a Young Woman


Origin: English
Period: Early Eighteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1720-1740
Height: 21 inches
Width 10 inches
Depth: 16 inches

In one piece with backstrut, the section projecting on a later base of cement, the carved Portland stone (limestone) bust of a young woman in three-quarter relief, wearing a headscarf, her hair centrally parted and arranged in two braids survives from the first half of the eighteenth century.

Wonderfully weathered, the bust shows wear commensurate with her age. The small amount of loss to the nose is ancient and all her edges are smooth with the three hundred plus years of erosion from the elements. As mentioned, she sits on a later base, probably early twentieth century, whereby she has obviously been joined as a corbel or keystone into a wall or niche.

Although probably not by the greatest sculptures of this period such as The Carters, brothers and son, John Cheere (1709-87), John Nost III and Louis-François Roubiliac (1702-1762), the bust certainly falls within the second tier for quality and although the lady has a certain Scandinavian feel to her, we believe her to be English made, or certainly British.

This is an impressive piece of early stonemasonry sculpture and may well date earlier than the periods of the William III, Queen Anne or George II, though one thing is for certain and that is the undoubted subtlety and quality of the carving throughout.