Sale, Paris, Drouot Richelieu, 31 March 2000, lot 90, where acquired by the present owner
N. Jeffares, Dictionary of Pastellists before 1800, Paris 2006, p. 400, reproduced
The sitter, born Isabelle-Agneta-Élizabeth van Tuyll van Serooskerken (1740-1805), was generally known as 'Belle van Zuylen'. She was born in the Castle of Zuylen, near Utrecht, the eldest of seven children. Her parents gave her a very broad and liberal education, even including the study of disciplines such as mathematics, an unusual topic for women at the time. She also studied music in her youth with the composer Niccolò Zingarelli, and composed a number of works herself, though only a few fragments of these have survived. In 1771 she married Charles-Emmanuel de Charrière de Penthaz (1735-1808) and they settled near Neuchâtel. As Madame de Charrière, she became a well-known writer of her time, and one of very few extraordinary women who took an interest in politics, writing novels, plays and pamphlets. When a number of aristocrats fled to Neuchâtel during the Revolution, she befriended some of them, but at the same time published works criticizing the attitudes of the refugees, whom she felt had failed to learn the necessary lessons from the Revolution.
Please note that the pastel has not been viewed out of its frame.
Overall it appears to be in good condition. Some areas of rubbing/losses around the edges and around her neckline. Colors remains strong.
Sold in carved and gilded frame. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.