Taking advantage of the speed with which he could model the soft material of terracotta, the sculptor, probably Jean-Jacques Caffieri, fashioned an informal and spontaneous portrait bust. He rendered the sitter's face--where the sitter's character is most fully revealed--with great care, while the clothes, hair, and especially the back of the head were treated more sketchily. These areas show the sculptor's handling of the clay, creating incised lines on the front of the clothes and smooth planes on the cheeks. Although the sitter's identity is unknown, the face closely resembles portraits of the painter François Boucher.
Made to adorn a French interior, this type of bust was very popular in the 1700s. Because terracotta was relatively inexpensive, both middle class and wealthy consumers could purchase artworks made of this material for their homes.