Oil on original canvas.
Annotated on the back of the frame: de Sérent.
In a frame from the end of the Louis XVI period in oak and gilded paste known as double gorges decorated with raises of hearts, raises of pearls and frieze of acanthus leaves.
H. 44 x L. 35 cm.
- Bought in 1797 by Armand-Louis de Sérent de Kerfily (1736-1822), according to the inscription "de Sérent" on the back of the painting.
- French private collection.
Baron Roger Portalis, Danloux and his journal during the emigration (1753-1809), Société des Bibliophiles François, 1910, pp. 381-385-386-388.
Our painting representing the Count of Artois sitting at his desk during his exile in Scotland at the castle of Holyrood, was commissioned by the Marquis de Sérent de Kerfily, tutor of the children of the Count of Artois, the Dukes of Angoulême and Berry (by order of King Louis XVI in 1780). It was apparently finished on August 3, 1797 by Danloux (Portalis, p. 381). Unlike the other portraits of the Count of Artois made by Danloux, "Monsieur" is not represented in uniform but in civilian clothes, no decoration is worn by the future monarch. A certain sobriety emerges from this table, nothing here suggests that this Prince of the Blood, emigrated to Scotland, will leave his "Regency" style chair in faux-bamboo to sit on September 16, 1824 on the throne of France, left vacant by his brothers Louis XVI then Louis XVIII. Penholder in hand, interrupted in his reflection, the future Charles X is represented as an enlightened man with the simplicity and seriousness that characterize the post-revolutionary ideal. The pose is inspired by the artist's masterpiece, the portrait of Jean-François de La Marche (1729-1805), count-bishop of Saint-Pol de Léon, emigrated to England in 1791, painted in London in 1793 and exhibited at the Salon of 1814 (ill. 1). Danloux will resume this atmosphere in the portrait of Mr. Gardiner from 1802 (sold at Sotheby's NY, February 28, 1990, lot 7).
The face of the future king is here identical to that which one finds in the original portrait which the artist carried out in September 1796, at the same time as a portrait of his son the Duke of Angoulême (ill. 2 and 3) . These portraits ordered by the Comte d'Artois will be kept by him until 1830, when they are definitively placed in the Palace of Versailles (inv. MV6922 and 6923). The father and his son are represented in a three-quarter bust, respectively in the uniform of colonel-general of the Swiss and of the Angoulême-Dragons regiment, wearing their decorations (note that the portrait of the Duke of Angoulême de Versailles is an oil on wood, each measuring 27 x 22 cm).
The artist immediately made two replicas of each portrait, also representing them in bust and in uniform, which the Comte d'Artois would pay 150 guineas + 50 guineas offered to the artist. Those representing the Comte d'Artois (or both?) will be given by himself to the Counts of Vaudreuil (auctioned in Paris on June 20, 2007 at Tajan, again at Sotheby's London, April 24, 2008, lot 118, signed and dated 1798, measuring 25 x 19.5 cm) and des Cars (collection of the des Cars family in 1910). That of the latter will be engraved.
These copies of original portraits that Danloux calls "small" portraits, made for a clientele of political exiles, are generally never signed, as are the majority of portraits made in exile. "This phenomenon is quite frequent in patriotic England, which does not admit, a hundred years later, that a Frenchman could have painted someone from their country" (Portalis, p. 372).
Then, two more replicas of each of the portraits will be painted by the artist, presumably all of them full-length and apparently in civilian clothes, "ignored replicas of historical portraits that will one day be found" (Portalis, p. 373). Danloux thus takes the faces of his original portraits, but to paint the rest of the body, he is inspired by models. Those of Angoulême are made with a certain M. Hoteman as a model (Portalis, p. 388), those of Artois with M. de Jousserans and possibly the Abbé de Lubersac. The sponsors of the portraits of Angoulême are the Duchess of Buccleugh and Lord Moira, those of the portraits of Artois are Lord Moira and the Duke of Sérent.
We learn in his diary that on August 2, 1797, Danloux was working on the copy of the portrait of "the Duke of Sérent". On the 3rd, he returned "to work to finish the copy of the Duke of Sérent" (Portalis, p. 381). On the 7th, he wrote a letter to Mme de Polastron and to the Duke of Sérent, to know whether to send them "their small copies" (note that Danloux also portrayed Louise de Polastron, Gabrielle de Polignac's sister-in-law and mistress du Comte d'Artois, sold at Libert on December 5, 2008, lot 14, measuring 27 x 21.5 cm). On August 22, "M. Dejean" brought 8 guineas to the artist on behalf of the Duke of Sérent "for the copy of his small portrait" (Portalis, p. 386).
Our portrait would not be the only representative of Artois in civilian clothes since on August 14, the Abbé de Lubersac (1730-1804) served as a model for the clothes of a portrait of Monsieur (probably another), and on the 19th, he works on the clothes of the "small portrait" of Monsieur, "after the Comte de Jousserans who served as a model" (Portalis, p. 385). On the 25th, he made the hand and on the 26th, the sleeve, "after M. de Jousserans", on the 28th, the coat and the 29th, the sword, the hand and the hat. On September 1, he finished Monsieur's cordon bleu after one that the Duke of Bourbon loaned him (Portalis, p. 388). On the 2nd, he also worked on the gloves of the full-length portrait of the Duke of Bourbon (Chantilly, inv. PE417), after M. de Jousserans (ill. 4). That same day, he pays the latter 41 shellings for the "ten days of exposure that he served me for the painting of Monsieur". On the 3rd, he produced the thighs of the portrait of Monsieur "according to him". On the 5th, we learn that the Duke of Angoulême would have also been represented in civilian clothes since Danloux painted "after Hotman the right arm, the hand and the hat of the Duke of Angoulême". Perhaps it is the portrait of an unknown sold at Tajan, March 23, 2000, lot 52, measuring 38 x 32 cm.
On the 15th, he worked to finish "the small portraits of the princes" for the Duchess of Buccleugh. On the 22nd, he began a portrait of the son of the Duke of Sérent, Count Armand-Sigismond de Sérent, killed in 1796 during the Vendée war (p. 392).
Remember that Danloux met Armand-Louis de Sérent de Kerfily (1741-1824) on December 15, 1795 during a dinner. Following a conversation about painting he had with the guests, the painter describes the duke as "someone who seeks to educate himself and takes advantage of everything that is said" (Portalis, p. 67). Sérent, officially titled duke from 1814 and became governor of the castle of Rambouillet, will take part in the reign of Charles X by sitting from June 4, 1814 in the Chamber of Peers, thus binding the sponsor and the model of our table with the political history of France.
We would like to thank Mr. Olivier Meslay, director of the Clark Art Institute at Williamstown (USA) and Danloux specialist, for confirming the authenticity of this work.