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Antique French Portrait Miniature, Naughty, de Mailly, Mistress to French King Louis XIV
Antique French Portrait Miniature, Naughty, de Mailly, Mistress to French King Louis XIV
Antique French Portrait Miniature, Naughty, de Mailly, Mistress to French King Louis XIV
Antique French Portrait Miniature, Naughty, de Mailly, Mistress to French King Louis XIV
Antique French Portrait Miniature, Naughty, de Mailly, Mistress to French King Louis XIV
Antique French Portrait Miniature, Naughty, de Mailly, Mistress to French King Louis XIV
Antique French Portrait Miniature, Naughty, de Mailly, Mistress to French King Louis XIV
Antique French Portrait Miniature, Naughty, de Mailly, Mistress to French King Louis XIV
Antique French Portrait Miniature, Naughty, de Mailly, Mistress to French King Louis XIV
Antique French Portrait Miniature, Naughty, de Mailly, Mistress to French King Louis XIV
Antique French Portrait Miniature, Naughty, de Mailly, Mistress to French King Louis XIV

Antique French Portrait Miniature, Naughty, de Mailly, Mistress to French King Louis XIV

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A mid-1800s portrait miniature of an historical figure of first half of 1700s - a "naughty". Louise Julie de Mailly-Nesle, comtesse de Mailly (1710–1751) was the eldest of the five famous de Nesle sisters, four of whom would become the mistress of King Louis XIV of France. She was his official mistress from 1732 until 1742. Her father was Prince d'Orange. Her mother was a Lady in Waiting (courtier) to the Queen from 1725 but died and Louise Julie took over for her mother as a lady in waiting to Louis XIV's wife, the Queen. She came to her role as mistress easily. She had, in her youth, married to her cousin.  And we know that Louis XV was humiliated at his father's mistress because some said she was insufficiently beautiful for that role. In 1765, artist van Loo painted his "The Three Graces", said to be the other 3 sisters of Louis Julie de Mailly-Nesle, which I have added as a reference point with the listing. You can definitely see a likeness to our portrait miniature, and also the reasoning behind her being shown as a "naughty" here. The artist of this one did not sign this painting. The history is always fun!

As I've explained, there are basically 2 types of portrait miniatures: 1. an original painting of an individual who sits for the artist, and 2. a 'souvenir' portrait painted by another artist than the original, usually a miniature of a larger painting of famous people, or by famous artists. The 2nd had been made as gifts, perhaps, or as propaganda (there are SO many period images of both Napoleon and Josephine), or as souvenirs for the new tourist of Grand Tour, who wanted to take home an image of a favorite painting after leaving museums or palaces.  This is one of the 2nd type, but of a rather rare subject. 

Very good to excellent condition, and an antique in its own right, though not done in early 1700s when this woman lived, so a tourist souvenir painting. The painting remains excellent, charming work from capturing her allure to capturing the tacks on the upholstered chair upon which she is posed. Erotic, as well, the inclusion of a suggestive piece of cloth draped to her left on top of that chair. The painting is still complete, well-preserved under the original slightly convex cover glass, and in a nice wood frame, mid-late 1800s.  Measurements in full are noted on the photos. The reference image of her 3 sisters is not included, is just to show history and likeness.