Every element of this lively portrait of an unnamed gentleman is carved in meticulous detail. From the carefully curled tendrils of the wig to the rounded buttons of the waistcoat, David Le Marchand demonstrates a mastery of his medium. Trained in his native Dieppe, Le Marchand emigrated from France to the British Isles around 1696, a departure likely motivated by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) and the resulting persecution of the Huguenots (French Protestants). He settled in London by 1700, establishing a successful business catering to an elite clientele that included the family of King George I, prominent Whig politicians, and notable members of the scientific and cultural communities. This bust has been tentatively identified as the essayist and philosopher Joseph Addison (1672–1719), but the facial features bear only a general resemblance to those in other portraits, and the mode of dress echoes conventions in British literary circles.

From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)
Artist David le Marchand, French, 1674 - 1726
Title
  • Bust of a Gentleman, possibly Joseph Addison
Date ca. 1707
Medium ivory
Dimensions Overall: 10 1/2 × 6 × 3 inches (26.7 × 15.2 × 7.6 cm)
Credit Line Museum Purchase, Joseph M. de Grimme Memorial Fund, funds from Stanford Stoddard, Gilbert B. and Lila Silverman, and Visiting Committee for European Sculpture and Decorative Arts in honor of Alan Darr; gift of Mrs. Horace E. Dodge by exchange
Accession Number 2003.1
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
On View British S3BB, Level 3 (see map)
(Daniel Katz, dealer);
2003-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Darr, A. P. and B. Gallagher. "Recent acquisitions (2000-2006) of European sculpture and decorative arts at The Detroit Institute of Arts." The Burlington Magazine 149 (June 2007): 452, pl. X (ill.).

Darr, A. P. "Virtuoso Carving: Three Eighteenth-Century British Portrait Sculptures by Le Marchand, Roubiliac, and Chaffers.” Bulletin of the DIA 83, no. 1/4 (2009): 42-4, fig. 1.

You, Yao-Fen. “From Novelty to Necessity: The Europeanization of Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate.” In Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate: Consuming the World, ed. Yao-Fen You, Mimi Hellman, and Hope Saska. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 2016, p. 29; 32 (ill.); 130–131, cat. 22.

Bulletin of the DIA: Notable Acquisitions, 2000–2015 89, no. 1/4 (2015): p. 20 (ill.).