Allegorical bust of a young woman, possibly ‘France’

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Allegorical bust of a young woman, possibly ‘France’ about 1600


When this small bronze bust was bought in 1982, it was believed to be a portrait from life of Mary, Queen of Scots. Dated between 1559 and 1560, it was supposed to have been made when she was Queen of France after her marriage to the Dauphin François. It is now thought, however, that the bust does not represent Mary and is an allegorical representation of a woman, possibly as ‘France’. It is now attributed to the French sculptor Barthélemy Prieur instead of the earlier presumed maker, Italian artist Ponce Jacquio. The attribution remains controversial, as neither the style nor any item of clothing or jewellery can be exactly dated or confirmed. Other casts of the same bust are owned by the Musée du Louvre in Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Glossary Open


Where the ‘story’ of a work has a deeper underlying meaning – often used for the representation of grand, abstract ideas.


Sculpted portrait consisting of the head and the top of the shoulders.


The production of a sculpture by use of a mould to make a copy, usually in a more durable material, of the original work. The term is used to describe both the process and the resulting object.

Allegory, Bust, Cast


  • Acc. No. PG 2508
  • Medium Bronze
  • Size Height: 27.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1982