Octogonal miniature portrait painted with watercolor and gouache on ivory, unsigned.
Louis XVIII (1755–1824), King of France and Navarre (1814-1824), wearing blue double-breasted coat with gold epaulettes, breast star of the Order of Saint-Esprit, breast star and badge of The Order of St. Lazarus and Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the badge of The Royal French Order of Saint-Louis suspended from a red ribbon, white waistcoat, stock and chemise, his cropped hair powdered.
Good general condition, slight restorations.
In an 18k gold frame with an openwork border set with cut sapphires alternating with simple and old brilliant-cut diamonds.
Preserved in a rectangular red leather case inscribed "Augustin" on the lid, interior in silk and shaped silk velvet.
Several collection labels.
H. 6.3 x W. 6.3 cm (2 7/16 in). Frame: L. 8.5 cm. Gross weight: 55.0g.
- Property of the artist.
- His wife Pauline Augustin, born Ducruet (1781-1865).
- By bequest in 1865 to his niece Justine Henriette Cornut de La Fountaine de Coincy (1810-1898).
- The Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New-York, since 1906.
- His Sale, Christie's, London, 24 June 1935, lot 753.
- The Collection of the Hon. Lady Shelley-Rolls.
- Her Sale, Christie's, London, 13 February 1962, lot 85.
- Christie's, London, 2 April 1968, lot 45.
- Christie's, London, 22 October 1974, lot 40.
- The Collection of Richard Allen, London.
- His Sale, Bonham's, The Richard Allen Collection of Fine Portrait Miniatures, London, Knightsbridge, 21 May 2014, lot 55.
- Private collection, France.
- Dr G. C. Williamson, Catalogue of the Collection of Miniatures: The Property of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1908, Vol. IV, pp. 119-133, n° 705, ill. pl. CCLV (n° 3).
- Bernd Pappe, Jean-Baptiste Jacques Augustin. Peintre en miniature, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, Musée Pierre-Noël, 17 avril-20 juin 2010, p. 22, note 110.
- Bernd Pappe, Jean-Baptiste Jacques Augustin 1759-1832. Une nouvelle excellence dans l'art du portrait en miniature, Scripta Edizioni, 2015, pp. 54-55, cat. 1120 p. 354 (illustrated with another frame).
As he did for Napoleon, Augustin produced countless miniature portraits of Louis XVIII. Unlike his predecessor, the King poses in front of his artist. The first work dates from 1814, the last from 1822. Most are oval in shape, but the artist kept in his studio an unfinished round version and our octagonal version, which was to serve as his model. The official miniature of the King is simple in design and the pose used remains conventional, but the commander nevertheless appreciated the brilliance of the colors, the richness of the details, and the sober and sovereign expression.
Thus in 1819, Louis XVIII appointed Augustin 'peintre en miniature et en émail de la chambre et du cabinet du roi' and 'premier peintre en miniature' in 1824. The artist had been made a Knight of the Legion d'Honneur three years earlier in 1821. Upon Augustin's death from cholera in 1832, his Estate passed to his widow, Magdeleine Pauline Ducruet, who organised the sale of the Estate including Augustin's miniatures, the majority of which Magdeleine appears to have purchased for herself. The sale took place at the couple's home between 19-21 December 1839. Upon her death in 1862 and in the absence of any children of her own, Magdeleine left Augustin's studio to her niece, Justine Henriette de Bouhébent and the miniatures she acquired at the 1839 sale were divided between her nephews, Augustus, Alfred and Léon Cornut de la Fountaine de Coincy. Léon sold his share of the collection to J. Pierpont Morgan in 1906 and it is therefore very likely that the present lot featured in this acquisition (see N. Lemoine-Bouchard, Les Peintres en Miniature 1650-1850, 2008, pp.57-58 and B. Pappe, Jean-Baptiste Jacques Augustin Peintre en miniature, 2010, pp.23-24). The present lot was engraved by Fornel and Lignon and the corresponding plate was sold at Augustin's sale on 21 December 1839 (lot 161).
- A reduced oval version signed by Augustin is held by the Musée du Louvre (inv. n° 145) (see P. Jean-Richard, Inventaire des Miniatures sur Ivoire Conservées au Cabinet des Dessins Musée du Louvre et Musée d'Orsay, 1994, p. 43, ill. n° 34).
- A three-quarter length oval version signed and dated 1815 was gifted by Louis XVIII to the Duc de La Châtre and, by direct descent, now forms part of a private collection (N. Lemoine-Bouchard, ibid, 2008, ill.p.62, pl. k).
A number of other variants of the present model exist, including an enamelled version, signed and dated 1822, which is held by the Cleveland Museum of Art (inv. n° 1940.1201).