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General Lafayette - Item #228

$ 960.00



28 Inches High x 20 Inches Wide x 10 Inches Deep

This life-size bust is of the American Revolution hero, the Marquis de Lafayette. The Virginia General Assembly sought to honor him after the victory at Yorktown in 1781, and upon recommendations from Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Barclay, the Assembly commissioned sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. Houdon made a life-mask of Lafayette in 1785 when the latter was 28 years old, and then created a bust based on it. In 1786, one marble was given to the City of Paris (though today its location is unknown) and the second marble was placed in the Virginia State Capitol. Houdon made variations of the bust as well for future sale. The Caproni Collection's bust is one of these later versions. Unlike the Caproni one, the original sculpture in the Virginia State Capitol has an added layer of drapery over Lafayette's uniform. Both versions include on Lafayette's proper left lapel the badge of the Society of Cincinnati and the cross of the Ordre de Saint Louis.


Artist: Jean-Antoine Houdon

Museum/Location: Virginia State Capitol, Richmond, VA

Time Period: Modern- Neoclassical, 1786

1911 Catalog ID # - 5450



Hirayama, Hina. "Busts of Franklin and Lafayette by Jean-Antoine Houdon." Acquired Tastes: 200 Years of Collecting for the Boston Athenæum, edited by Stanley Ellis Cushing and David B. Dearinger, The Boston Athenæum, 2006, pp. 261-265. Boston Athenæum,

"The Marquis de Lafayette, marble bust." Education at Library of Virginia, Library of Virginia,

Milano, Ronit. "Transitional Identities: Family Structure, the Social Order, and Alternative Masculinities at the Dawn of Modernity." The Portrait Bust and French Cultural Politics in the Eighteenth Century, Brill, 2015, pp. 123-153. GoogleBooks,