A fabulous and rare portrait miniature, I believe his is a young man of the "Incroyables et Merveilleuses" - (incredibles and marvelous) the slightly smug face of a spoiled rich fashionable Parisian making political statement. An exquisite and artist signed French portrait miniature, outlandish fashion of overthink cravat and double breasted short coat in navy blue, high collar, powdered hair or topper wig, long in back and pulled to a low-tied pony tail. The white cravat with ruffled bib, (thick-wrapped cravat - reminder of the neck wounds of the guillotined Royals). He might well have been one of the wealthy students at the 1832 student uprising, Paris, barricade of a real-life Les Miserables, but in fact he dates earlier. The portrait is, I am certain, c.1795-99, instead, mean he is an aristocrat in support of Royalty overthrown and beheaded in The Terror. "Mods" in their time. A fashion celebrating excess, riches, these young people scandalized Paris in the days after the execution of Robespierre. The history is wonderful and must be read. The fat cravat is a typical sign of support and memorial to those aristocrats who were overthrown in the French Revolution, late 1700s. So he's somewhere between 1795 to 1799 when the fashion exuberance faded. Do read about this short period in fashion. All the history is so interesting.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, the smallish wood frame shows age as visible. The small painting is very well preserved under original convex beveled cover glass and within an 18k gold-faced mat where the panel of thin gold is adhered to the brass backing with tabs which holds it to the frame and encloses the portrait. I've had quite a few miniatures with this thin gold plaque front from the 18th century. Not just a foil, not 'plated', a separate layer with edge visible if you take it apart and look with loupe. Painting is superb. No damage, no loss, and the rare smile or "Incroyables" smirk. RARE!