Antique French Portrait Miniature, Gilt Gesso Frame: Sister Of King Louis Xvi For Sale
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Antique French Portrait Miniature, Gilt Gesso Frame: Sister of King Louis XVI
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A superb Napoleon III era painting, after Gainsborough if I'm not mistaken, though I can't think of the sitter's name. I would guess Miss Elizabeth, sister of King Louis XVI, but I might not be correct. Anyone out there remember your Art History better than I do? If so, please email. Definitely 'after' the work of a 1700s to early 1800s portraitist whose work would have drawn Grand Tour travelers to the Museums of Paris. There sprang up such a market for these beautifully rendered miniatures 'apres' or 'after' the original work, that artists who were otherwise, as with tradition, 'starving artists' kept food on the table and the landlord at bay by taking on this type of tourist trade in their spare time. We know that even the likes of Manet, Money and Degas did such minatures, though without any signature to help us, it's always a mystery as to who our artists are on the tourist trade miniatures. But they make a wonderful collector's gallery. I have many of them and enjoy them each time I venture past my 'mini-museum' wall and cabinet. This one is particularly special. A larger than usual painting, done on early celluloid wafer rather than on iv ry which was traditionally used. In the 1840s, 'French' iv ry as it came to be called, was discovered and artists flocked to it in hopes it would turn out to be a fitting substitute for the more difficult to obtain iv ry wafers. A slightly different surface, most returned to iv ry fairly quickly, so there are not so many of these very early celluloid ones out there. A real collector's treasure, and the wafer and painting are immaculate. Frame is also special: finished like the large museum frames with a gold leaf on rust finish over gesso and wood, it's a fine antique in its own right.
Very good to excellent, and just in from France. The frame has a small hairline in the surfact at the 12 o'clock position, visibile in our images. Slight rubs to the gold which make it all the more elegant and cherished, and appealing. A most spectacular image of a 1700s Lady of the French Court. The back had been opened, so we did remove to inspect and to scan this painting. You can see it is early celluloid. And you can also see that it is in splendid condition without any cracks or losses, no chips. Superior piece!
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