Monday, July 30, 2012

Portraits of Desiree´

"Désirée Clary at Mortefontaine" by François Pascal Simon Gérard (Rome 1770 - Paris 1837). 

"Queen Desideria". Anonymous, XIXth century. 

"Désirée Clary" by François Pascal Simon Gérard (Rome 1770 - Paris 1837).

"Princess Desideria of Sweden". Miniature (1812) by Nicolas Jacques (Jarville 1780 - Paris 1844).

"Queen Desideria". Anonymous, XIXth century. 

Désirée at Mortefontaine, after the painting by Gérard (engraved version of original, which hangs in Royal Palace, Stockholm)

Désirée and Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte - old "fashion plate" engraving

The Bernadotte Family, 1837, by Fredrik Westin (Gripsholm Palace)

                                        (Dowager) Queen Desideria , by Johannes Möller

Queen Desideria - from a tea caddy, Royal Palace, Stockholm

Queen Desideria - engraved version of "tea caddy" portrait

"Désirée Clary" by Robert Jacques François Faust Lefèvre (Bayeux 1755 - Paris 1830)

"Queen Desideria on her deathbed". Photograph taken in 1860

The image of a previously ‘un-identified’ sitter, in 1st Empire style dress, showing off a gold finger band and superb pearl earrings, seated on a green silk velvet bench, is one of the great works of art in the celebrated David Roche Collection of Regency/Empire furniture and decorative arts. It was recently published, as part of a 2008 Exhibition – Empires and Splendour, which was held at the Art Gallery of South Australia. The portrait, an oil on canvas signed lower left R Lefévre Fecit, will be displayed in the first exhibition to be held at the David Roche Gallery in Adelaide post Easter 2012. It has been suggested, by some in the know the sitter is Bernardine Eugénie Désirée Clary (1777 – 1860) former fiancée of Napoleon Bonaparte, and later Queen Consort of Sweden and Norway? If it does turn out to be proved to be Désirée, it will be yet another coup for this renowned Australian collector David Roche, whose amazing ‘cabinet of curiosities’ will be bequeathed to the people of South Australia. Preliminary examination and knowledge that both portraits reveal a small blemish/beauty spot to the left hand side of her nose, is surely an intriguing co-incidence. This image is a side on view, as opposed to the full frontal view of the work by Lefévre below, which is now in the Royal Domain at Drottingholm. Those familiar with Désirée may also recognize her inimitable hairstyle. BY CAROLYN MCDOWALL  MARCH 6, 2012

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