Erato was at the foot of the grand stairway of the mansion house Sourdeval-Demachy, the Parisian residence of Maurice de Wendel acquired in 1910 (fig. 1). According to Maurice de Wendel's records, Erato was said to come from Bagatelle, the Count of Artois' pleasure residence built in 1777 by François-Joseph Bélanger. Cleared from its furnishing and sold for the first time in 1836 to the Marquis of Hertford, Bagatelle was continuously refurbished and altered by its successive owners, among whom Richard Wallace, including the dispersion of his statuary. Thus, ten sculptures and two stone sphinxes were acquired circa 1900 by a Parisian notary for his Château of Bonnemare (Eure). According to the incomplete account books of Bagatelle, some of the sculptures were carved by French sculptors, in particular by Nicolas-François-Daniel Lhuillier - who subcontracted to Philippe-Laurent Roland -, Louis Auger, Daniel Aubert, Mézière and Simon Seindit. They were mainly made of Conflans limestone, whereas the other sculptures of Bagatelle, carved by Italian sculptors and imported from Carrara by the Knight Trouard de Riolle, general controller of the King's marbles, were made of marble.
The Carrara white marble which the present Erato is made of tends to confirm an Italian origin. The marble could also have been carved by a French sculptor, such as Jean-Joseph Foucou (1739-1815) to whom it was previously attributed, or a Franco-Italian sculptor such as Agostino Bocciardi (1719 -1797) whose name also appears in the accounts of Bagatelle.
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