Collection of 8 antique Bois Durci portrait roundels

Attributed to Lepage, François (French fl. mid 19th century)


Attributed to the creator of the Bois Durci material Francois Lepage, these eight charming portrait roundels depict a host of historical figures.


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These elegant circular plaques are adorned with the profiles of several historical figures, each cast with an exquisite likeness to the model.

Uniform in size, each roundel features a hook at the apex, so that the collection might be hung for display. Seven of the plaques depict notable historical composers, namely Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Joseph Haydn, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Georg Friedrich Handel, Gioachino Rossini, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Felix Mendelssohn. The final panel depicts Napoleon Bonaparte. Each displays the sitter in profile, and the finest details such as the muscles of the face or the texture of the hair are superbly rendered. The contrast between the smooth portraits and the more textured background is highly pleasing, allowing the figure to stand out from its background despite the single colour. The name of each figure is embossed either above or encircling the portrait.

All of the plaques are crafted from the Bois Durci material. Often compared to Whitby Jet, the dense yet glossy material was well suited to crafting small desk items such as plaques and inkwell stands. This set is attributed to François Lepage, who patented the substance in 1856.

The Napoleon panel is inscribed ‘Bois Durci’ to the reverse.

This elegant set would be well suited to any collector interested in musical history. 


Artist / Maker
Attributed to Lepage, François (French fl. mid 19th century)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
19th Century
19th Century
Figurative Art, Music / Musical, Napoleonic, Royal / Monarchy
Bois Durci


2 cm / 0.8 inches
11 cm / 4.3 inches


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