EPINAY, Prosper d'
(b. 1836, Pamplemousses, Mauritius, d. 1914, Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire)


French sculptor. He was born a British subject and was the son of a prominent advocate in Mauritius. From 1857 to 1860 he studied caricature with the sculptor Jean-Pierre Dantan in Paris, and in 1861 he worked in the Rome studio of Luigi Amici (1813-1897). He was active in Rome and London between 1864 and 1874 but from the mid-1870s increasingly turned his attention from London to Paris.

He maintained a studio in Mauritius, producing statues of his father and of the late governor, Sir William Stevenson (bronze, 1865; Port Louis, Jardins de la Compagnie). In England his bust of Edward, Prince of Wales (bronze, 1912; Port Louis, Champ de Mars), executed from memory, was purchased by Queen Victoria, and from then until 1881 he exhibited at the Royal Academy, London. With the exhibition of the coquettish nude the Golden Girdle (1874; marble version, St Petersburg, Hermitage), reminiscent of the 18th century and the Fontainebleau School, Epinay won the attention of the Paris public. He shared with his equally well-connected contemporary, the sculptress Marcello, a tendency to period pastiche, especially in his female portrait busts, which imitate the emphatic verticality and elaborate coiffures of Jean-Antoine Houdon and Augustin Pajou. A concession to Realism is found in the stress on ethnicity in some of his biblical and literary subjects, such as the Young Hannibal Strangling the Eagle (1869; private collection).

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