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by Simona De Pascalis

Photo © Simona De Pascalis

Photo © Simona De Pascalis

Polychrome wax bust of Princess Victoria of Savoy-Soissons, made by the wax sculptor Francesco Orso around 1780 and conserved in the Castle of Agliè (Turin).

“Ugly, short, very corpulent, small black eyes, a big and long nose, a thin mouth and a low forehead, dressed as an old French bourgeois woman, wearing caps with four lace ornaments [...] it seemed that all the physical health of the family, scarce for her brothers, was concentrated in her flourishing body”: in spite of this description, the rich heiress Mademoiselle de Soissons, at the ripe old age of 55, married Prince Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen, 20 years her junior, who accepted to become her husband in return for three hundred thousand florins and some properties.