Spelter Statuette of Hebe
A small golden plaque identifies this statuette as being created by Étienne Henri Dumaige (1830‒1888) during the 19th century. Dumaige was a French sculptor and bronzier who studied under Jean Feuchère (1807‒1852). He exhibited at the Paris Salon and Académie des Beaux-Arts between 1862 and 1877, earning a second-class medal in 1880. Skilled at working in bronze, plaster, and marble, Dumaige was recognized for the diversity of his oeuvre. Depicted is Hebe, the Greek goddess of eternal youth, prime of life, and forgiveness. The daughter of Zeus and Hera, Hebe was tasked with serving nectar and ambrosia to the gods of Olympus, until her marriage to Hercules. It was Hebe who kept the gods and goddesses eternally youthful, which earned her much respect and appreciation among them. Dumaige represents Hebe holding a chalice and sitting upon an eagle, a common symbolization of her father, Zeus. The eagle was commonly associated with immortality, making it a fitting companion to Hebe.
At this time in history in France Napoleon III (1808–1873) was in power and was allied with Britain and the Ottoman Empire against Russia in the Crimean war.