Dramatic Antique Bronze Sculpture “Esmeralda” signed Jean-Joseph Jaquet

Antique Bronze Sculpture “Esmeralda”

Dramatic and large (76 cm) antique bronze sculpture cast by the prestigious bronze foundry Lerolle in Paris from the work “Esmeralda” by Jean-Joseph Jaquet (1822-1898).

This remarkable antique bronze sculpture shows us Esmeralda with her tambourine. Esmeralda is a fictional character from the book “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, published in 1831, by the famous French author Victor Hugo (1802-1885). She is a French Roma girl. Esmeralda constantly attracts men with her seductive dances, and she rarely goes without her clever goat Djali. She has a turbulent life in which many dramatic events happen.

In this work we see Esmeralda as an elegant and attractive young woman looking up dreamily. Her broken tambourine loosely in her right hand, suggesting a dramatic event just occurred.

The bronze sculpture is in perfect condition with a very beautiful and nuanced brown patina. It has detailed carving of an excellent quality. Especially the way her clothes are draped around her body is very realistic.

This work titled “Esmeralda” carries the signature “JJ JAQUET 1854”. It also carries the foundry mark “LEROLLE”.

Dimensions: 76 cm high, 36 cm wide, 44 cm deep.
Weight: 39.6 kg.


The sculpture was created by the renowned Parisian fondeur Lerolle Frères. The workshop was at no. 1 rue du Foin et Chaussée-des-Minimies where they produced all types of bronzes. Established in 1836, after inheriting the family business, the firm designated themselves Fournisseurs de la Cour de Sardaigne. This was a reference to a silver medal granted to their father for a cheminée and console supplied to the King of Sardinia. Lerolle exhibited at most of the international exhibitions held during the second half of the 19th century. For instance London 1851, New York 1853, Paris 1855 (where the firm obtained a médaille de 1re classe), London 1862 and Paris 1867 and 1878. The firm was fêted by critics for their luxury decorations by ‘first-class artists, while modelling, moulding, chiseling and finishing rank among the bronze-masters of Paris’.

Sculptor Jean-Joseph Jaquet (1822-1898) studied with Guillaume Geefs at the Brussels Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts. Assisted by his brother Jacques (1830-1898), Jaquet regularly exhibited at the Brussels art salon between 1843 and 1873. One of his most famous commissions is the equestrian group of Baldwin I of Constantinople in Mons, as well as the lions on the Brussels Stock Exchange in 1872.

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