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Mary Hunter (1856-1933) was a well known society hostess in London. She
sat to Rodin at his house in Meudon
near Paris. There are several casts of her portrait in bronze, but Rodin admired
the 'marble' quality of her flesh, and
made this more elaborate version in
that material. He told her she was like
'an Englishwoman of the time of Pericles' (that is, in the great period of Greek sculpture). The base of the sculpture is
a cloudy, formless mound, decorated with a swag of roses, turning the head into
a symbol of beauty, as well as a portrait.

August 2004