For years, as I hit estate sales, flea markets and thrift stores looking for traditional items to fill my first home, a classical bust was at the top of my wishlist, but their high price tags meant I always went home bust-less. So I was thrilled to find this one at an estate sale for the bargain-basement price of….wait for it….50 cents! Yep, that’s right, it was tagged $1 and, as this was the sale’s last day, they had marked everything half price. Best of all, she represents my favorite Greco/Roman deity: Artemis (aka Diana), mythology’s original wild woman — goddess of the hunt, chastity, childbirth, the moon and protector of women.
My bust is plaster and therefore very fragile, hence the long (character-adding) crack across her cheek:
A plaster bust is the least expensive option. My friend and fellow traditionalist, Grant, one-upped me last weekend and scored this lovely pair of bisque (or unglazed) porcelain busts at an estate sale for only $20:
The material options and costs go up from there. Terracotta is much rarer and more expensive than porcelain. As is Parian, a pure-white material created in the mid-1800′s specifically to give Victorian middle-class consumers the chance to own busts that look like marble at a fraction of the cost.
Most coveted and expensive are marble and bronze:
Is a classical bust the finishing touch your home needs? Check your local antique stores and sites like 1stdibs, V&M, and ebay and be sure to tell us in the comments below how you feel about this oh-so-traditional touch.