Helene Detroyat (French, 1899 – 1951)

A bearded lady holding an Ostrich Feather Fan

Oil on canvas

Signed and Dated ‘Helene Detroyat, 32’

45.7/8 x 32in. (excluding frame)

50.3/4 x 36.1/2in. (including frame)

Price: £2500

Condition: Not relined, a patch to upper middle left with corresponding over paint, other areas of retouching.  Cracquelure, good impasto.  In a gilded wood frame with chips, scratches, losses. 


This is a very rare and unusual portrait.  The bearded lady in France was a regular attraction, the name of this sitter is unclear but others are well documented such as Madame Delait who was a star in her day, she was a baker’s wife who decided to grow her facial hair for a bet.  When this proved popular she grew a full beard and became an international curiosity.  Many postcards exist of her in lady’s dresses but she had to go to court for the right to wear men’s clothing. This lady may well have comefrom a side show or a circus. This particular painting was featured at Christie’s London ‘Out of the Ordinary’ sale in 2013.