A stunning bust from the opera L'Africaine is set to wow crowds at Bonhams' Fine European Furniture, Sculpture and Works of Art sale on July 5.
The work was created by Italian sculptor Luigi Pagani towards the end of the 19th century, but it is not simply for its creator that the work is valued. The imposing bust depicts Selika, the central character in one of France's most popular grand opera performances - L'Africaine or The African Woman.
L'Africaine was the last opera created by the famed German composer Giacomo Meyerbeer, the first great exponent of grand opera. Noted for its impressive stage scenes and elaborate costumes, the work tells the story of Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama, who captures and marries Selika, queen of her native East-India.
Bonhams' head of European furniture, Francois Le Brun, commented: "
The bust is expected to make £80,000-120,000 in the London auction. A pair of similar busts from L'Africaine, also by Pagani, sold for $321,000 at Christie's in 2003, promising strong results for the Bonhams piece.
Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering a fantastic range of antique English furniture, including this exceptionally rare John Linnell demi-lune commode.
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