Few ivory portraits show the extraordinary detail of this bravura carving, which displays qualities usually found in the much larger bronze or marble busts of the era. Echoing the drapery-swathed and bewigged grandiosity of those images, the little-known sculptor who signed this piece paid meticulous attention to rendering his sitter's costume. The luxuriant cascade of curls, modish lace jabot topped off with an elaborate two-ribbon tie, and brocade patterning of the parade armor contrast strikingly with the naturalistic delineation of the face. Someday, however, his pockmarked skin and the distinctively truculent set of his chin may provide clues to the gentleman's identity.Johanna Hecht, associate curator, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative ArtsProvenanceM. Fau, Paris, by 1865; Emma Budge, Hamburg; her sale, Paul Graupe, Berlin, October 4–6, 1937, lot 85 (bought by Budge heirs, Hamburg); on loan to Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, until 2005; [Boyke Dettmers, Bremen].BibliographyPaul Mantz, "Union centrale des beaux-arts appliqués à l'industrie— Musée rétrospectif—La Renaissance et le temps modernes," Gazette des Beaux-Arts 19 (October 1865), p. 343; Eugen von Philippovich, Elfenbein: Ein Handbuch für Sammler und Liebhaber, 2d ed. (Munich: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1982), pp. 88–89, fig. 68; James D. Draper, "Bust of a Nobleman," Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 2004–2005. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 63, no. 2 (Fall 2005), p. 20.