Barrias's charming figure was inspired by a painting by Achille Guillaumet entitled The Wool Carder, Bou-Saada
of 1885 (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen). La Jeune Fille de Bou Saada
was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1890 as a wax model, and later at the Exposition Centennale in 1900. Barrias has given his figure a far greater Romanticism than the humble realism of Guillaumet; while the painter shows the girl in a dejected mood in a plain shawl, the sculptor dresses his girl in fine clothes and ornaments.
The Susse foundry offered the model in various sizes and degrees of elaboration. There is a marble and bronze example in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. The present cast has a glamorous variated gilt patina, with only the hair patinated in a dark colour. It is further distinguished by its original green onyx base.
Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1890, vol. 2, p. 65
Stanislas Lami, Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs de l'école française, au dix-neuvième siècle, Paris, 1914, vol. 1, p. 58