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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Beauty Of The Bust

Ever since my first trip to Italy in 1984, I've been fascinated by statuary. It's one thing to see their pictures in books. It's a completely different experience to see them in person. It's both a combination of awe and admiration that someone can create something so beautiful out of stone.
19th century Italian marble bust.
My latest acquisition. 
I especially love to see the many ways that a bust can be incorporated into rooms of all design styles. I can't help wonder the history. Is it of an ancestor? Does it have a symbolic meaning to the owner or the property? Or did the person who owns it simply fall in love with the face?

In my case, I fell in love with the face. I've searched for a bust of my own for years. I've been to auctions, estate sales, antique shops and never found one I loved at a price I could handle. However, two weeks ago, while shopping for client projects in one of my favorite antique shops, I happened upon this bust of a young woman. Although I have always wanted a marble bust, I had always imagined it would be of a man? But she was so beautiful, even with her layers of dirt and significant discolorations. I've been "bathing" her the last few weekends. She will eventually reside on an antique mahogany pedestal in my living room.

Until then, here's a sampling of some of my favorite images showing busts and head sculpture:

And for those of you who can't pick a favorite? How about one for every season!
The bust in the lower right corner is so similar to mine. I combed the article in the
most recent issue of AD trying to get more details, but it only indicated these are antique marble.
Images courtesy of Architectural Digest, Traditional Home, Veranda, and many unknown from my files.


  1. I just posted earlier today about my new to me italian marble bust =) I just love them!

  2. Your new "friend" is lovely. I have my eye out for a small one but they are often made of resin or something fake feeling.
    I was in Italy in 1984 too. I loved it and cherish the memories.

  3. cut off...ha! I must be too wordy. Anyway, I love your marble bust.

  4. Rebecca! What a beautiful piece you have found there! I think busts are one of those things that you either adore or just don't care for....personally, I LOVE them. I had one that I picked out for my son to put in his store and someone took it....after hours....So sad! I can't wait to see her in all her glory! xo Diana

  5. We ave a number of busts scattered about Darlington House. I love them! And I love all these photos you've assembled. Thanks! REGGIE

  6. oh, she is exquisite, I even love her with the discolorations. That garland? beautiful, unique, and it must have been quite a challenge to make. Okay, you have sharpened my appreciation for busts! Lovely post.

  7. Just beautiful. I used to have a small one that I regretably sold with our old house, to the owners who loved it too (dumb move on my part) so now I want to buy another down the road. They add such a feeling of importance to a room, beautiful pictures!

  8. Rebecca I love your lady especially the laurel wreath around her head. I don't have a bust but I have several heads, I'll have to do a post on them they're fun. They're fun to have laying on a pile of books. I can't wait to see how you will be using your lady, congratulations on acquiring her.

    Enjoy your day!

  9. Such great images showing busts and your bust is amazing, what a find! I am curious though, what did you buy for your clients that day? I hope you will share that too.

  10. I love sculpting portrait busts, and this collection is beautiful. Love the rolled eyes on the bust you purchased. Priceless.
    Happy Thursday.

  11. What a great score. I'm a little bust envy :)

  12. You found a beauty and the wait was worthwhile.
    I feel it important to relate to the piece and not simply acquire a piece for ownership sake. You clearly will treasure this always

    Thanks for sharing

    Helen xx

  13. lovely!....smiles

  14. I love your new beauty, Rebecca!! I have a little bitty bust of a man...but I've always got my eyes open for a bigger one. For some reason, I always think male....but after seeing your lovely lady, I might reconsider!

    xo Elizabeth

  15. I feel the same. Did you see the "newer" Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly?... when she visits Pemberly and they are in the hall of busts and statues....beautiful.....k

  16. Love this post--I "found" a beautiful bust about 20 years ago at Doyles Auction house in NYC and she has come with me everywhere! Can't wait to see your classic lady!

  17. I can see why you snapped her up I would have to. Her face is exquisite. I love the playful look of her eyes. You will have to give her a name. It`s a shame the busts don`t come with documentation, oh how I would love to know the story behind this one and who the person was she was based on, I bet she had a mischievous personality.


  18. i love the range of photos ~ showing how statuary can be used in so many applications. from very formal, to a more relaxed setting to a more contemporary room... i'm inspired to add a bust to my next accessorizing frenzy!

  19. I think they are gorgeous and such a part of classical design...great to catch up...I just don't always have time to comment...but I love your blog.

  20. Just have to leave one more comment...I've pinned several images. This is a great post. XO, Mona

  21. I linked to your post. The bust you acquired is beautiful!
    Love all the pictures of all the busts.


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