This marble bust of Queen Alexandra (1844-1925) by the Mauritius-born sculptor Prosper d’Épinay (1836-1914), was reputedly commissioned by the royal consort herself. The 2ft 2in (67cm) high work depicts the Edwardian queen in a ruff wearing jewellery (possibly from the crown jewels), and a pearl-set tiara with the letter A carved into the plinth.
It was gifted by Alexandra to Earl Howe, in recognition of his long-term friendship and loyal service. He had served as the Queen’s Lord Chamberlain from 1903 until her death in 1925, and previously had been Treasurer to the Royal Household. Passed down by descent, it will go under the hammer with a £25,000-35,000 estimate at Dreweatts in Donnington Priory on June 27.
The piece is stylistically similar to another of d’Épinay’s royal commissions; a portrait bust of the Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, which sold at Sotheby’s London in 2011 for a premium-inclusive £37,250.