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If you’ve been checking out the other photos of my house (here, here and here), then you’ve noticed that my style is pretty traditional. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it suits me to, well, a T.

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:  antique bust of goddess diana

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: Grant Dudley's busts

 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.antique terracotta and parian busts

Terracotta bust of Marie Antoinette    Parian bust of Clytie

 Most coveted and expensive are marble and bronze: antique marble and bronze busts

Carrara marble bust of Napoleon     Bronze bust of Antinous

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.

16 Responses

  1. Audrey says:

    I love it that you said that about the crack on the face of your bust. I feel the same way. Character. Makes things even more unique and interesting.

  2. Laura says:

    Top 2 photos are my favorites, including the crack in photo 1.

  3. Lynne says:

    Thanks for telling us the difference in materials and pricing. Love the busts.

  4. Andy says:

    Just found a cool web site displaying and showcasing peoples private collections and collectibles. I think you can upload and show off any classical antique busts for free. Its <a href="http://www.collection-corner.com” target=”_blank”>www.collection-corner.com

  5. Joyce says:

    Love the pair Grant found at an estate sale.

  6. [...] Adventures in Antiquing: Classical Busts HGTV Design Happens Wed, September 19, 2012 2:33 PM UTC HGTV Design Happens Rate Share (function(){var [...]

  7. Carol says:

    Camille, an unbelievable steal for 50 cents. You hit the jackpot with that!

  8. Louise N. says:

    Love the blogs you do on antiquing. My favorite thing to do. Thank you.

  9. […] Antiquing: Old Toolbox Turned Magazine CaddyAdventures in Antiquing: Old Clock Repurposed as a FrameAdventures in Antiquing: Classical BustsAdventures in Antiquing: Vintage Avon BottleAdventures in Antiquing: Salvaged Molding As Holiday […]

  10. […] Busts: If you read my earlier post about different types of classical busts, then you know that I’m already a fan — but these beauties are a good example of […]

H. Camille SmithCamille is a managing editor for HGTV.com, fine artist and antique furniture devotee. As a former interior designer and Nickelodeon animator, she has a real passion for balanced, beautiful interiors...


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