CATHERINE, QUEEN OF WESTPHALIA
Vanessa Remington, Victorian Miniatures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 2 vols, London, 2010
Jean Baptiste Joseph Duchesne (1770–1856), son of the sculptor Charles Jean Baptiste Duchesne, studied miniature painting in Paris under François Elie Vincent and Jean Baptiste Jacques Augustin. He exhibited at the Salon between 1802 and 1842, and in 1814 was appointed chevalier of the Legion of Honour. The transition from Bonaparte to Bourbon rule in no way affected his career, and he continued to receive the most eminent patronage. A letter of recommendation written in 1841 by Louise, Queen of the Belgians, to her niece Queen Victoria is revealing of his character: ‘[Duchesne] is a poor old Man but a very excellent Man and a most conscientious and highly gifted artist. He is only very slow as he finishes very much all he does and does not work for raising money: but through real love of his Art’ (quoted Remington, vol. I, p. 158). In the mid 1820s he began to add the name of the town of his birth to his signature: Duchesne de Gisors.
The firm of Susse, later Susse Frères, was established in the passage des Panoramas in Paris in 1805 as stationers, soon under the Empress's patronage. They rapidly expanded into metalwork with the purchase of a foundry for the creation of both statues and artistic frames, and then into all types of fancywork with impressed leather document holders and wallets in rich colours a particular speciality. They opened their premises at 31 place de la Bourse around 1831 and in 1839 they signed a contract with Daguerre and Alphonse Giroux to produce the first commercially available cameras.
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