French Virgin Mary Plaster Bust c.1930



This is an original vintage plaster bust of the Virgin Mary made in France, circa 1930. It is flat on one side which indicates it may have been in a church or cathedral. The piece has retained its original paint and is good condition with appropriate patina for its age.Minor chips denoted in photos.

  • CREATOR Unknown
  • MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES Chalkware, Hand Painted.
  • CONDITION Good. Wear consistent with age.
  • DIMENSIONS H 13 in. x W 14 in. x D 6 in.


In the second half of the nineteenth century, in Europe and the United States, chalkware accomplished for three-dimensional devotional objects what chromolithography managed for images in two dimensions. Both of these visual and sensory technologies, furthermore, came into common usage just as European and American Christian missionary activity entered a new phase of domestic and global enterprise.

These media and their suitability to emerging capital marketplaces in a period of empire building (religious and otherwise) facilitated the export and inculcation of Western Christian ideas, beliefs, and values. Chalkware sustained its peak popularity from the late eighteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, though it is not entirely clear when in the process it acquired this name.

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