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A Poet's Monument attended by Two Female Mourners: M.55 & A-1997

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 4


A Poet's Monument attended by Two Female Mourners


Sculptor: Boizot, Louis Simon




Terracotta, on contemporary painted and parcel-gilt wood base (A). Off centre of the group stands an altar surmounted by an urn, the front of the former bearing a tablet inscribed with the letters D.O.M. over a three line illegible inscription, and below it, a winged lyre and foliage. A veiled but demi-nude mourning female figure wearing a medallion with the portrait of a young man on a chain around her neck, is standing on its right side, fastening a garland of roses onto the urn. To the left stands a young girl playing the flute, and holding in her right hand a circlet of pine which she is about to place on the altar. The base is oval and painted pale grey. It has a row of beading round the upper moulding and stylised leaves round the lower moulding. Between them is a vertical area broken by four projecting pilasters. On the former there are alternating anthemions and palmettes, and on each of the latter, a rosette, all in relief, and gilt.


History note: Joseph Bardac sale, Paris 9th December 1927, lot 54; Marius Paulme sale Paris, 15th May 1929, lot 270; Galerie Charpentier sale, Paris, 20th December 1949, lot 103. Daniel Katz Ltd., London.

Legal notes

Purchased with the Cunliffe and Perrins Funds, with contributions from the National Art Collections Fund, and the M&GC Regional Fund administered by the Victoria and Albert Museum

Place(s) associated

  • Paris

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (1997) by Daniel Katz Ltd.


18th Century, Late
Louis XVI
Production date: AD 1790 : dated


Simon-Louis Boizot was born at Gobelins where his father was designer at the royal tapestry factory. He trained in the studio of the sculptor, Michel-Ange Slodtz, and, having won the Prix de Rome in 1762, spent five years there from 1765 to 1770. After his return to Paris he was appointed director of the sculpture department of the Sèvres porcelain factory in 1773, but continued his work as a freelance sculptor.

The delicacy of the modelling, and fine detail of this terracotta suggests that it was not conceived as a model for a larger monument in a different medium, but as a finished sculpture in its own right. The older woman may represent Erato, the muse of lyric poetry, for the lyre on the front of the pedestal supporting the funerary urn, suggests that the ashes it contained were those of a poet. Possibly it was commissioned to commemorate Chevalier Antoine Bertin, a captain in the French cavalry, who published a volume of poems, L'Amour, in 1780, and died aged thirty-seven in 1790.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Sculpture UK

Components of the work

Base Decoration composed of gilt paint
Base composed of wood (plant material)
Figure composed of terracotta
Wood Base Depth 24 cm Height 7.5 cm Length 42 cm
Terracotta Height 36.5 cm
Terracotta Base Width 36.5 cm

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: signed and dated

  • Location: On back of altar
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Signature

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.55 & A-1997
Primary reference Number: 29970
External ID: CAM_CCF_M_55 & A_1997
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 17 March 2021 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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