Set of 11 antique Bois Durci portrait roundels, 19th century

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


Made from the intriguing Bois Durci material, this set of medallions captures the likeness of their subjects with exquisite precision.


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This beautiful set of 11 portrait roundels is attributed to François Lepage, the inventor of the ‘Bois Durci’ material. Often compared to Whitby Jet, this unusual substance was patented in France in 1856, and its hard, dense, and glossy moulding made it perfectly suited to refined desk items such as decorative plaques and inkwell stands.

The 11 portraits depict a variety of historical figures, including Queen Victoria, Empress Eugenie, and Giuseppe Garibaldi, amongst others. Each depicts their sitter in profile, with the smooth, polished texture of the figure contrasting with the textured background. The names of each of the figures are embossed around the sides of the panel. The roundel of the composter Beethoven is surrounded by a laurel frame, expertly cast to replicate the texture of the leaves.

Some panels are signed ‘Bois Durci’ in various fonts on the reverse.

These charming roundels are a captivating piece of history, made using a novel technique that speaks to Lepage’s innovation. They would make a wonderful decorative desk piece, or framed set.

Largest: Height 1.5cm, diameter 15.5cm
Smallest: Height 1cm, diameter 11.5cm


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


1.5 cm / 0.4 inches
15.5 cm / 5.9 inches


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