from artnet

A Forgotten Bust Found Propping Up a Storage Shed Could Net $3 Million for a Tiny Scottish Town

The auction record for a Bouchardon bust was set in 2012 by the Louvre.

by Richard Whiddington

Bouchardon Bust, 1728, Edmé Bouchardon. Image: courtesy Highland Council.

A 18th-century bust created by artist Edmé Bouchardon, who served sculptor to French King Louis XV, and was later bought by a Scottish local government for just a few pounds may soon be sold for millions to benefit public programs—but not before the public has had its say.

Scotland’s Highland Council will allow members of the local community to voice their opinion on the fate of the multimillion-dollar bust, currently held by the Invergordon Common Good Fund. The port town in eastern Scotland has a population of fewer than 4,000.

In 1930, Invergordon Town Council spent £5, roughly $500 today, on a marble sculpture of Sir John Gordon, an 18th-century Scottish landowner and political figure, by the French artist Bouchardon.

Sotheby’s, which is acting on behalf of the Council, recently received an offer of more than $3 million for the bust, an amount the auction house believes represents close to peak value. The record for a Bouchardon bust is €3 million (about $3.2 million), which the Louvre paid at French auctioneer Aguttes for the bust Marquis de Gouvernet in 2012. As part of any deal, the council is requiring that the buyer provide a museum-quality replica.

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