Signed and dated 1818
Signed and dated 1818
Half length, her right hand raised, with curled brown hair, wearing a gold-embroidered and lace-trimmed satin gown, mauve train and bows, and a magnificent diamond parure, column and green drapery background
In original cast and chased gilt-bronze frame with anthemion and scroll surmount, the reverse inscribed: "Portrait original de S.A.R. Madame la duchesse d'Angoulème, peint en 1818 par Augustin, Premier peintre du Roi. Ce portrait déposé lors de la Révolution de 1830 dans le trésor de la Couronne, a été remis a Mr le Comte de la Panouse, qui prend la respectueuse liberté de l'offrir a Monseigneur le Comte de Chambord. Mars 1864."
Together with sections of the silver and gold frame of the tiara worn by the Duchesse in this portrait, and a small booklet detailing the dismantling of the tiara.
Frame: 29.5cm high (including the surmount); 22cm wide; Oval: 13.5cm
French Crown Treasure
Comte de la Panouse
Comte de Chambord
Then by descent
Sotheby's Geneva, 21 November 1991, lot 14
Marie-Thérèse (1778-1851) was the first-born child of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette of France and in early life was known as Madame Royale. Although not the desired male heir, her mother took a sanguine view of this disappointment: "A son would have been the property of the State. You shall be mine." She was the only one of the couple's four children to survive to adulthood.
She was imprisoned with her family in 1789, first in the Tuileries and later the Temple, and finally released in 1795 after the executions of her parents and the death of her brother the Dauphin. Her memoirs, first published in 1817, provide the most reliable first-hand account of the period of the family's captivity, as well as their escape and capture at Varennes in 1791. Following her release, her Habsburg and Bourbon relations debated the fate of the "Orphan of the Temple", finally agreeing to marry Marie-Thérèse to her Bourbon first cousin, the Duc d'Angoulême, heir to the future king, Charles X.
Marie-Thérèse sat for the portrait miniature offered here following the Bourbon Restoration, when she was known as the Duchesse d'Angoulême during the reign of her elder uncle, Louis XVIII. She is wearing the same diadem in which she posed for the full-length portrait, now at Versailles, by Jean-Antoine Gros in 1816. According to jewellery historian Shirley Bury (Jewellery, 1789-1910: The International Era, 1991, vol. 1, pl. 49), the diadem and, probably, the upper necklace were re-made in 1814 and set with diamonds which had belonged to Marie-Antoinette.
For the six years of Charles X's reign, 1824-1830, Marie-Thérèse was the Dauphine of France, succeeding her mother in that position, and for the few minutes between Charles X and the Duc d'Angoulême each signing their declarations of abdication in 1830, she was arguably the Queen of France, at least in the eyes of devoted Royalists. She lived on in exile in Edinburgh and Prague, and died at Frohsdorf near Vienna, professing forgiveness for those who had wronged her family.
The artist Jean-Baptiste-Jacques Augustin (1759-1832) and his rival Jean-Baptiste Isabey were the two most-renowned miniaturists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Although Napoleon preferred Isabey's more impressionistic style to Augustin's naturalism, he appointed Augustin official painter of the Imperial court. Louis XVIII named him painter-in-ordinary of his cabinet.
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