A Very Good 20thC Plaster Death Mask of a Female

Origin: Probably French
Period: Early/Mid 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1930-50
Height: 10.5”
Depth: 5.5”
Width: 6.5” (at extremities)

The life size thick heavy set plaster moulded death mask, well cast of a female, showing her in the serenity of passing, and of particularly substantial proportions and clean lines, surviving from the first half of the twentieth century and being continental, probably French in origin.

In original condition the mask remains in one piece without damage. It does not suffer from any chips or cracks and as such, thankfully, is presented in very good overall order. It is a particularly thick and heavy example.

This good quality and very well-cast mask shows a beautiful middle aged female in very defined detail, calm and serene, at peace with her memory beautifully upheld. The piece isn’t hollowed out to the rear so it is substantial and rather heavier than most masks of this type.

Death masks are an impression or cast of the face of a deceased person, usually made by oiling the skin and taking a plaster cast of the features, and are the most haunting mementos of the deceased. They have been in existence since the time of Tutankhamun, whose solid gold burial mask is an object of extreme beauty and superstition. Such masks could be used either in a funerary effigy or as a model for a posthumous portrait. It was important that a death mask was made as soon as possible after death so that the character of the deceased was captured before the features started to fall.

A very good quality example of sharp, fresh clean lines and particularly pleasing proportions; and truly angelic in its disposition.