Adrien de Gasparin

Pierre Hébert
1804 - 1869

1863, bronze, 42 cm (H)
Gasparin room

This statuette is an exact reproduction, possibly the artist’s model, of a 2.5 metre statue found in Orange on Cours Aristide Briand. It is a statue of Adrien-Etienne de Gasparin who was born on 29 June 1783 in Orange and died there on 7 September 1862.  

The famous agronomist is sat down in a meditative pose.  He is dressed in a frock coat, a waistcoat and some trousers with a foot strap and is holding a manuscript in his left hand and a quill in his right.   Around the statue’s feet, there are various agricultural effects and some of his main books.  On the left at the base, there is a book with a sheaf of wheat and on the back it says ‘COURS D’AGRICULTURE'. On the right, there is an open book leaning against the armchair’s back leg which says METEOROLOGIE and there are various scientific instruments.

The statue was built on 11 September 1864 and this event was mentioned in Le Journal Illustré by Henri de Montaut: ‘The Count of Gasparin, son of a famous member of the Convention and one of the world’s most distinguished agronomists, was Interior Minister for a long time.  The elevated thought, nobility of character and deep education of this eminent gentleman made him one of the glories of France. When he passed away he had given a good service to agriculture and to the working classes. A large crowd gathered in Orange, led by the leading officials and scientists, including Count Agénor, son of the Count of Gasparin, to attend what was in essence a family commemoration marked with gratitude and respect. An agricultural exhibition and a ploughing competition, creating peaceful furrow, completed the inauguration ceremony in appropriate style.

In 1942, the Germans had the full-scale bronze statue melted so they could manufacture munitions.
In 1965, Countess Edith de Gasparin, the only descendant of this family, decided to donate objects, furniture, portraits and artwork to the Orange Museum in order to keep the memory of her ancestors alive.  Some of her ancestors had played distinguished political roles, such as MPs or Mayors of Orange and others had scientific roles.  A room in the Orange Museum has been completely given over to the history of this family.