Statues - Hither & Thither

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Park van Tervuren
(Links van het Koloniënpaleis)

Le secret surpris

Overhearing a Secret

Bernard Adrien Steüer
Maurice Denonvilliers (Paris)

Tervuren /  Le secret surpris   Tervuren /  Le secret surpris


Group of two characters: a hooded person with a gagged mouth, whose hood is lifted by the other character. Originally, there was a third person, a kneeling little winged Amor (as seen on postcards).


Bernard STEUER
fondu par maurice denonvilliers

Statues in the Park of Tervuren

In 1897, Brussels hosted the World Expo, which took place in the buildings of the Cinquantenaire Arch. King Leopold II took advantage of the organization of the exhibition to construct the Palace of the Colonies in Tervuren Park in order to expose the main import and export products of Congo, next to ethnographic objects and stuffed animals. This became the basis for the present Museum of Central Africa, which main building is built 1904-1910, east of the Colonial Palace.
For the design of gardens King Leopold II commissioned the French landscape architect Élie Lainé, who opted for a somewhat austere but harmonious design with lawns and walks, decorated here and there with cast-iron statues cast on pedestals.

The exhibition center was decorated with a fountain, eight ornamental vases, two deer and a number of sculptures that were provided by Maurice Denonvilliers, artistic director of the Comptoir Général des Fontes, d’Art de Bâtiment et de Fumisterie in Paris. It is assumed that twenty sculptures were ordered, seven of which were taken back by the artists after the show, one has disappered. The twelve remaining sculptures are cast iron, with the exception of the bronze statue of Verginius and copy of fighting stags also in bronze. These statues are in a state that deserves serious restoration.

The sculptures are (we photographed only the ones around the Colonial Palace - Click here for a interactive map with the locations of the sculptures).

    In front of the Colonial Palace:
  1. Après le Combat / After the Fight, by Viscount Charles du Passage.
  2. L'Agriculture / Agriculture, by Jean-Ernest Boutellier.
  3. Le Commerce / Trade, by Jean-Ernest Boutellier.
  4. Après le bain / After the bath, by Charles-Elie Bailly
  5. Ophélie / Ophelia, by Alexandre Falguière
    North of the Colonial Palace
  6. Amour taillant son arc / Amor Fashioning a Bow, by Edmé Bouchardon.
  7. Le secret surpris / Overhearing a Secret, by Adrien Bernard Steuer
  8. Marguerite à l'église / Margaret in the Church, by Louis-Alexandre Lefevre-Deslongchamps
    On the lawn south of the Colonial Palace
  9. Virginius et sa fille / Verginius and his daughter, by Elisa Bloch.

    Near the Royal Museum for Central-Africa

  10. La Ménade / The Maenad, by Jean Valette.
  11. L’Arabe Salem / The Arab Salem, by Loiseau-Rousseau.
  12. Zéphyr et Psyché / Zephyr and Psyche, by Henri-Joseph Ruxthiel.

Bordering the two stairs to the Colonial Palace, there are also four cast sphinxes by an unknown artist and founder.

Source:, Ensemble de statues - parc - Tervueren.


Sources & Information


Locatie (N 50°49'43" - E 4°30'53") (Satellite view: Google Maps)

Item Code: bevb028; Photograph: 6 May 2015
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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