Lot 238
  • 238

Attributed to Hugues Jean François Paul Duqueylard

80,000 - 120,000 GBP
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  • Hugues Jean François Paul Duqueylard
  • Orpheus
  • oil on canvas


General Count Józef August Ilinski (1766-1844), Romanów Castle, Wolyn, Poland and Saint Petersburg;
His son Henryck Ilinski (1792-1871), Romanów Castle and Saint Petersburg;
His daughter Michalina, later wife of Henryck Stecki, Romanów and later Krakow;
By descent to the husband of his grandaughter Rognieda (d.1922), Count Adam Zamoyski (1872-1933), Krakow;
Acquired from the family of the above by Edward Metzger, by 1950;
Acquired in 1959 in Milan by George Encil, Vienna.


J.D. Ochoki, 'Romanow', in Dziennik Literacki, 1856, no, XXIII, pp. 183-4;
J, Bialostocki, European Paintings in Polish Collections, Warsaw 1955, pp. 512-3, no. 230;
W. Husarki, 'Louis David 1748-1825,' in Sztuki Piekne, vol. III, 1926-7, pp.41-53, reproduced;
A. Ryszkiewicz, 'Paintings and drawings attributed J.L. David in Polish collections', in Biuletyn Historii Sztuki, 1964, no. I, pp. 36-37, reproduced;
A. Ryszkiewicz in Experience and adventures of a Collector, Paris 1989, pp. 192-209.


The painting is a little cooler in tone and less yellow in colour than the catalogue illustration suggests. The canvas was probably relined in the mid 20th century but this has not overaly flattened the paint surface which is a little dirty and secured by a yellowed varnish. To the naked eye the painting appears in good condition. As visible in the catalogue illustration, a large pentimento can be made out at the base of the lyre where the artist changed the shape of the instrument. The head and red drapery in particular are well preserved but for the most part the fleshtones are too. Inspection under UV light reveals minor scattered retouchings and a small patch of restoration to the left of the buttocks, but confirms the good overall condition. Offered in an elaborate fine carved and gilt wooden frame in good condition.
"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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

This remarkable painting was long considered to be the work of Jacques Louis David (1748-1825), the greatest and most influential neoclassical painter of the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. As such it formed one of the highlights of the extensive collections housed at Romanów castle in Poland (now the Ukraine) by General Count Jozef Ilinski and his son Henryck in the early 19th century. More recent scholarship has however placed it among the so-called Barbus or Primitifs, a brief but fascinating association of painters from the studio of David, with whom Paul Duqueylard was closely linked. 

The Barbus or Les Primitifs were formed in reaction to David's Intervention of the Sabine women of 1799 (Louvre, Paris), and were linked by a striving for ideal beauty and principles of extreme simplicity in art. Rejecting their Master's work as too ' Vanloo, Pompadour, Rococo' their leader Pierer-Maurice Quay (c.1779-1802/4) sought to reform the corrupt state of contemporary art by a return to the fundamentals of archaic Greek art. Clarity of design was valued above all else, and the use of colour and line reined back in the service of simplicity and grandeur. Duqueylard's most important work from this period  - and indeed one of the first from the Barbus group to appear in an official exhibition - was his Ossian reciting his poems, exhibited at the Salon of 1800 and today in the Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence (fig. 1). The strong clear colours and simple but striking design of this Orpheus clearly reflects this work with its strong large scale nudes and indeed strong parallels can be drawn between this and the figure of the seated boy, also seen in profile to the left of the canvas in Aix. A similar date around 1800 can probably therefore be proposed for the present work. Though Les Primitifs seem to have exercised some influence over contemprary painters, their formation was unproductive and shortlived. After 1801, having left David's studio, they withdrew to a Parisian suburb, where for a couple of years they wore ancient Greek dress, organised esoteric rituals and practised vegetarianism.

General Count Jozef Ilinski and his son Henryck amassed a considerable collection at Romanów in the early 19th century. Apart from the present work, a total of 295 paintings were seen there by Jan Duklan Ochoki around 1820; these apparently included a portrait of Willem of Orange by Van Dyck, a Batoni portrait of Pope Pius VI, as well as works by or attributed to Poussin, Claude-Joseph Vernet, Jozef Grassi, Giovanni Battista Lampi and Salvator Rosa. Both General Ilinski and his son saw service at the court of Czar Paul I and the Grand Duke Constantin, the former in a military capacity and the latter as a Kammerjunker at the Russian court after 1816. Ochoki noted that much of the collection had been purchased in France after the French Revolution, and again after the emptying of the Mikhailovsky Palace  in Saint Petersburg after the assasination of the Czar in 1801.