The subject of this bust, M. de Neuville (1701-80), served as Captain of Artillery and a fermier général (general tax farmer or collector), one of a select group of men who collected taxes before the French Revolution. Jean Galliard de La Bouëxière, the original owner of the grand salon, was also a fermier général from 1722-58.
The sculptor, Jean-Jacques Caffieri, was born in Paris and studied there before winning the Prix de Rome in 1748. He stayed in Rome for four years before returning to Paris. Although he was a successful sculptor of allegories, he is best known for his lively and naturalistic portraits of influential Parisians, rivaling his younger contemporary, Jean-Antoine Houdon.