Mathurin Moreau, French (1822 - 1912):  Two patinated bronze figures, Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533 - 1603) and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542 - 1587)
Lot 188
Mathurin Moreau, French (1822 - 1912): Two patinated bronze figures, Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533 - 1603) and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542 - 1587)
Sold for £11,250 (US$ 18,211) inc. premium

Lot Details
Mathurin Moreau, French (1822 - 1912):  Two patinated bronze figures, Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533 - 1603) and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542 - 1587) Mathurin Moreau, French (1822 - 1912):  Two patinated bronze figures, Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533 - 1603) and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542 - 1587)
Mathurin Moreau, French (1822 - 1912): Two patinated bronze figures, Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533 - 1603) and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542 - 1587)
Elizabeth I modelled standing, her hair drawn back in a pearl net, her lace ruff open at the front above a supportasse, a lawn cloak to her back, wearing puffed sleeves and a slashed bodice, a rope of pearls clasped by jewels down its length, her overskirt open at the front to reveal an underskirt with brocade forepart, her right hand cradling a sceptre (the shaft lacking), her left resting on an open Imperial crown, raised on a moulded rectangular base with canted corners, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots wearing French fashions, a heart-shaped cap and a veil, her square-necked bodice edged with lace, a bejewelled crucifix pinned at her breast, with slashed puff sleeves and skirt over a French farthingale, her left arm raised to her breast, her right hand holding a quill pen above a manuscript raised on a pedestal supported by an Atlantes, crouching on a table with dentil frieze and turned legs, all on a moulded rectangular base with canted corners, both raised on a mid-19th century oak, pine and parcel gilt Gothic pedestal, with square cleated top and three sides carved with quatrefoils within a deeply recessed lancet arch raised on cluster column supports with Corinthian capitals, on an edge moulded square base, both signed M. Moureau Sculp and Ate. LEMAIRE, Elizabeth I: 100cm high (39" high); Mary Stuart: 99cm high (38.5" high); the pedestals 58.5cm wide, 58.5cm deep, 105cm high (23" wide, 23" deep, 41" high), overall: 205cm high (80" high). (4)

Footnotes

  • Provenance: The pedestals sold Sotheby's, London, 3rd November 1989, Lot 394.

    Mathurin Moreau belonged to a dynasty of artists, painters and sculptors: his brothers were Auguste Moreau and Hippolyte Moreau, and his nephews Louis-Auguste and Hippolyte François also became celebrated sculptors. He entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts at the age of nineteen and studied under Dumont, and first exhibited at the Salon of 1848.

    Auguste Lemaire founded a workshop for the manufacture of 'bronzes d'art' in 1851 at 10, rue Saintonge, in the Marais district. At the Universal Exhibition of 1855 he was awarded a medal. In 1862 he extended his business to rue Vieille du Temple. He gained a reputation in creating Renaissance or Henri II style bronze objects such as clock garnitures, chenets, candelabra, etc.

    Neither figure appears to have been based exactly on depictions in extant portraits, but both combine elements from several sources. For instance, the cap and winged veil worn by Mary Stuart here are similar to styles worn by her in the late 1570s towards the end of her captivity in England, captured in a series of portraits now known as the Sheffield portraits, probably derived from a portrait miniature by Nicholas Hilliard (c. 1578). The quill pen and paper or parchment are a reference to her abdication in favour of her son James VI of Scotland (and James I of England following Elizabeth I's death in 1603) in 1567.

    Mary's life was a hugely popular subject in the 18th and 19th centuries, both in literature and art. Sir Walter Scott's 1820 novel The Abbot was based on Mary's life following her abdication, and it gave further impetus to painters. Over fifty paintings depicting episodes from Mary's life were exhibited at the Royal Academy in the 19th century, and six paintings can be identified as showing the abdication scene.

    Elizabeth I is shown in a pose which frequently appeared in her 16th century portraiture, holding a sceptre and with her hand resting on the Imperial Crown. See, for instance, her Coronation portrait (NPG 5175), in which she is shown with an orb, sceptre and crown, the most potent symbols of her royal authority.

    When Mary abdicated from the throne of Scotland in 1567, she fled south to England seeking help from her cousin, Elizabeth I. Her Catholicism, however, and her position in the line of succession, posed a threat to the safety of Elizabeth's throne and it was deemed safer to keep her under house arrest. Following a series of plots against Elizabeth - some genuine and some fabricated - Mary was executed in February 1587, almost 20 years after she first appealed to her cousin for help.
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