A Very Large & Decorative Late Victorian Painted Plaster Portrait Library Bust of a Cardinal c.1900

Origin: English
Period: Late Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1890-1900
Height: 31”
Width: 29”
Depth: 14” (all at extremities)

The very large late Victorian plaster library bust depicting an unidentified cardinal, of middle to late age, with thinning hair and prominent features, wearing ceremonial robes and a pectoral cross on a chain, and a brooch to his breast, on a square concealed base, later painted in a laurel green and surviving from the late Victorian period in beautifully decorative condition.

The condition of the bust is simply wonderfully decorative with the old laurel green paint having worn off in several areas and with the whole now of a beautiful sea green colour overall and with the piece not having any restoration or over-painting; it remains a joy. There are small sections of chipped loss and pitting to various areas as one would expect but nothing of major distraction.

There is disagreement about the origin of the term, but the consensus that "cardinalis" from the word cardo (meaning 'pivot' or 'hinge') was first used in late antiquity to designate a bishop or priest who was incorporated into a church for which he had not originally been ordained. In early modern times, cardinals often had important roles in secular affairs. In some cases, they took on powerful positions in government. In Henry VIII's England, his chief minister was Cardinal Wolsey.

A hugely imposing and eye-catching decorators piece of unusually large size.