Bronze, 39.5 cm.
Cordier submitted a plaster cast of the bust of an African visitor to Paris to the Salon of 1848, and two years later he again entered it as a bronze (Walters 54.2664). A young African woman served as the model for this companion piece in 1851. Regarded as powerful expressions of nobility and dignity, these sculptures proved to be highly popular: casts were acquired by the Museum of National History in Paris and also by Queen Victoria. The Walters’ pair were cast by the Paris foundry Eck and Durand in 1852. These bronzes were esteemed by 19th-century viewers as expressions of human pride and dignity in the face of grave injustice.
One of the things I love most about this piece is that you get something new from almost every single angle.
This is, hands down, one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.