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Theophile Somme

'La Walkyrie de la Mécanique'

A bronze and ivory figure of a lady in a classic car
Ca. 1903
Signed (see picture)
Size 18 cm. (7 inch)
Good used condition. No damage. Some lines in the ivory and some discolouration
in the left hand
Order no: 10049

Price 1450 euro

Camille du Gast (Marie Marthe Camille Desinge du Gast, Camille Crespin du Gast, 30 May 1868 – 24 April 1942)[was one of a trio of pioneering French female motoring celebrities of the Belle Epoque, together with Hélène de Rothschild (Baroness Hélène van Zuylen) and Anne de Rochechouart de Mortemart (the Duchess of Uzès). Du Gast was known as "one of the richest and most accomplished widows in France," and as an accomplished sportswoman—a balloonist, parachute jumper, fencer, tobogganist, skier, rifle and pistol shot, horse trainer—as well as a concert pianist and singer. She was the second woman to compete in an international motor race.

In France, she later became renowned for her extensive charity work. She was president of the Société protectrice des animaux (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, SPA) until her death, and her campaign against bullfighting included disruptive protests. She provided health-care to disadvantaged women and children in Paris, and continued whilst under German occupation in World War II.

She was the central figure in the Parisian scandal of La Femme au Masque where she was maliciously but mistakenly named as the nude model in a notorious painting by Henri Gervex. This salacious story involved three court cases, and was reported around the world.

Her exuberant social and sporting lifestyle was changed by a traumatic experience around 1910, when her daughter attempted to have her murdered in order to inherit. In the middle of the night, in her own house, she challenged the gang and they fled. Afterwards she devoted herself to French government work in Morocco, and charitable works with animals, disadvantaged women and orphans.

A pioneer feminist, she served as vice-president of the Ligue Francaise du Droit des  Femmes (The French League for the Rights of Women) after World War I.] In 1904 she became the only woman official of the Automobile Club de France (A.C.F.).

She was known in the press by the sobriquets l’amazone and la Walkyrie de la Mécanique (Valkery of the motor car).

( From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

We guarantee that this item with ivory is antique, crafted before 1947 and therefore legally negotiable under CITES regulations. Appraisal for Sites Regulation is available. We don’t ship this item to the USA and Canada.

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