Born and educated in France, Pierre-Etienne Monnot moved to Rome around 1687, establishing a successful career as a sculptor in the Eternal City. Foremost among his distinguished international clientele was Karl, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (1654-1730), who entrusted him with the lavish decoration of the Marmorbad in Kassel. Another important patron of the sculptor was the Englishman John Cecil, 5th Earl of Exeter (circa 1648-1700), for whom Monnot produced an elaborate tomb. Monnot was clearly valued by his patrons not only for his architectural and decorative designs, but for his considerable talent in portraiture; both Hesse-Kassel and Exeter commissioned busts from the sculptor. While its flamboyantly coiffed sitter has not been identified, the present bust illustrates Monnot's skill as a carver, as well as his flair as a portraitist.
S. Lami, Dictionnaire des sculpteurs de l'école française sous le règne de Louis XIV, Paris, 1906, vol. 2, pp. 381-384; R. Enggass, Early Eighteenth-Century Sculpture in Rome, University Park and London, 1976, pp. 77-88