If the work is monumental, it is less so than its model, the Lady of the Vow, well-known to the people of Rouen as it has been adorning a chapel of the south aisle of Rouen Cathedral since 1954. It is the work of the sculptor L. Lecomte from 1777, and it replaced an older statue of the Virgin in the 18th century, renamed "Lady of the Vow" after the great plague that affected the town in 1637.
Brunel’s statue is thus a smaller version of the ‘Lady of the Vow’. The Child sinking into his mother’s arm, letting his left arm fall away thus becoming detached from the body of the sculpture, can easily be recognized.
Undoubtedly made for a special client, it may commemorate an important event.
It should be stressed, but without any certainty, that the year 1857 corresponds to the 500th anniversary of the first statue of the Virgin to feature on the rood screen of the Cathedral and dated 1357.