Dalva Brothers Antiques, Antique Furniture, New York

French 18th century furniture, clocks, lighting, paintings, porcelain, sculpture and tapestries


full screen image

print image and details

Bust of Voltaire by ROSSET

Exquisitely carved alabaster portrait bust of Voltaire signed “ROSSET scvlpsit 1767 A St Clavde”.  The smiling philosopher is portrayed without a wig and is wearing an informal garment over a shirt with a lace collar.  The bust rests on a black and white marble plinth on a later white marble fluted column.


Jean-François-Joseph Rosset was born in the Franche-Compté region near Switzerland in the town of St.-Claude in 1706.  The Marquis de Villette described a visit made by Rosset to Voltaire in 1765:  “Charmed by the friendliness of this artist, Voltaire welcomed him to Ferney, (Voltaire’s home in Switzerland) and I witnessed the innocence with which he doffed his wig, while playing chess, and revealed his bald head to him.  The King of Prussia… said ‘There is no-one who knows how to give life to a bust like the Franche-Comté sculptor!’  He manipulated boxwood, marble and alabaster with equal skill.” Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs de l’école Française: Stanislas Lami; Champion, Paris 1911. Vol. II, page 304-305. Rosset died in 1786.  Several of his works are in the Louvre, including a similar ivory bust of Voltaire also dressed informally.


Height (ins.): 14"(36cm)      Length/Width (ins.): 6"(15cm)     
Origin: France     Period: Neo-Classical



<< Previous Page