Mme. de Montesson, the lovely young woman subject of our early to mid-1800s hand painted miniature portrait offered here, was the mistress of Duc d'Orleans, Louis-Philippe d'Orleans. The painting is styled after, I believe, a c.1760 painting of her by Guillaume VOIRIOT, which was called "Femme a' sa Toilette". I've included a couple of views of Mme de Montesson, the combination of which may have been the source. She wears the same outfit and holds a book in this painting as she wore for M. Voiriot's painting, though her post is not the same. For those who collect French historical figures in their own portrait gallery, she's a must have. The painting is nicely accomplished and as you can see from our images, on a thin natural wafer that still has the old original vellum backing, though it's no longer adhered to the wafer. The painting is lovely, pensively posed, she seems to be contemplating the words in the book or letter, certainly one from her lover, the Duc d'Orleans. Duc d'Orleans was a title reserved for French royalty, first created during the 14th century. Known as princes of the blood (princes du sang), the title of Duke of Orleans was given, when available, to the oldest brother of the king. Thus, they formed a collateral line of the French royal family, with an eventual right to succeed to the throne should more senior princes of the blood die out. The one associated with this mistress was born in the Palace of Versailles in 1725 (May 12) and he became France's King Louis-Philippe II, and reigned in the turbulant point in French history, 1785-1793, upon which time he was replaced by Louis-Philippe III, who was King of France from 1793 and reigned until 1830. Of course this period was also one during which Napoleon served as Emperor of France, disposing the Royal lineage for a time (1804-1815).
Very good to excellent throughout. A nice larger size, she displays beautifully. The cover glass is original and is slightly convex and polished, helping us to date this piece. There are no flaws to note on this exceptional painting, and no chips, cracks or hairlines, no warping, to consider, either. The frame is magnificent in its own right and carries very good value, is in very fine condition. I would date this one c.1830-50, not later. What appears to be a signature on the lower portion is not, as you can see when we enlarge it. Frame is a wonderful old dore bronze cast frame with easel stand and hanging bale and it has the original woven fabric backing, all original. The frame alone is valued in the $400 range, remember, as they sell from there and higher.
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