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Mrs. Leech – Bust of the Englishwoman - Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis
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Sculpture

Mrs. Leech – Bust of the Englishwoman

Busto da Inglesa, Mrs. Leech

António Soares dos Reis (1847-1889)

1887

Bronze

Inventory Sheet

This bronze reproduces the plasterwork on display at the Teixeira Lopes House-Museum, which was completed in Lisbon in November 1887. The marble version was never signed, leading one to believe that it had been refused. This failure and other professional problems probably drove the artist to suicide on February 16th 1889.

In this work, Soares dos Reis responded to the challenge of portraying an English lady, highlighting her extremely austere personality. The frontal pose and the deep look of the model, dressed in a closed mantilla, contribute to this effect. Seen in profile, one discovers a sober hairstyle, with a chignon of plaits, handled with extreme delicacy.

The portrait is of Mrs. Elisa Ashworth, whom the sculptor met in Porto and who presented herself with great discretion. This can be seen by the way she was photographed, just before her 48th birthday, wearing a closed cape and with her hair tied up.