Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of Charles-Ferdinand d'Artois, Duc de Berry (Duke of Berry) (1778-1820), 1820 

Jean Baptiste Jacques Augustin (1759-1832)

Portrait miniature of Charles-Ferdinand d'Artois, Duc de Berry (Duke of Berry) (1778-1820), 1820, Jean Baptiste Jacques Augustin
Watercolour on ivory
19th Century
Oval, 3 ½ in (90 mm) high
Given to the Bishop of Chartres, probably Jean-Baptist-Marie-Anne-Antoine de Latil, Bishop of Chartres 1817-1824, by the Duchesse de Berry; Dr Ludwig Ritter von Flesch-Festau Collection, Vienna; Friedrich Neuburg Collection, Litomerice; part I, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 27 March 1939, lot 56; Ernst Holzscheiter Collection, Meilen; part I, Sotheby's, London, 28 March, 1977, lot 171.
E. Lemberger, Portrait Miniatures of Five Centuries, London, [n.d.], pl. 30. E. Lemberger, Meisterminiaturen aus fünf Jahrhunderten, 1911, illustrated in colour pl.30. L. R. Schidlof, Die Bildnis-Miniatur in Frankreich, Vienna and Leipzig, 1911, p. 70. H. Rieben, Bildnisminiaturen, Berne, 1951, p. 28, illustrated in colour pl. 29. L. R. Schidlof, The Miniature in Europe, Graz, 1964, I, p. 54. N. Lemoine-Bouchard, Les Peintres en miniature actifs en France 1650-1850, Paris, 2008, p. 63.
Arenenberg, Napoleonmuseum, Miniaturen und Karikaturen, 1954, no. 3.
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This magnificent and politically important portrait miniature of the Duke of Berry is by Jean Baptiste Jacques Augustin, arguably the finest miniaturist working in post-revolutionary France. This portrait, executed c.1820, was taken during his appointment as official painter to the King and the year he went to London.

Charles-Ferdinand, Duke of Berry, was the younger son of the Comte D’Artois, afterwards Charles X of France. At the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 his father took him abroad and by 1792 was serving in the army of the Prince de Condé. He followed Condé to Russia, where he was given a cavalry regiment to command by Tsar Paul. From 1801-1814 he lived in England, marrying an Englishwoman called Emma (Amy) Freeman Brown, with whom he had two daughters (later Baronne de Charette and Comtesse de Faucigny-Lucinge). In 1814 the marriage was annulled and the Duke returned to France. He spent time in Ghent during the Hundred Days War, returning once again to Paris in 1816. Upon his return to Paris, he married Princess Maria Carolina Ferdinanda Louisa (1798-1870). Despite the marriage being arranged, it was a happy match and the couple had three children before tragedy struck.

When leaving the Opera House on the Rue de Richelieu on the 13th February 1820, a fanatic named Louis Pierre Louvel stabbed and mortally wounded the Duke. His death marked a turning point in the history of the Restoration monarchy, hastening polarisation in the political parties and the downfall of the Decazes government. His wife gave birth, seven months after his death, to a ‘miracle child’, a son Henri, who received the title of Duc de Bordeaux, known as the Comte de Chambord. He became the focus and last hope for the Bourbon dynasty. This portrait miniature of the Duke would have provided family and friends with a focus for their mourning. Its inclusion until recently in a British Aristocratic collection possibly dates back to the Duchess’s time in Britain after the July Revolution of 1830.

Both the Duke and Duchess of Berry were supporters of the arts and would have appreciated the high quality of Augustin’s portrait miniatures. Evidence of his open and honest manner is recorded in contemporary accounts, including the memoirs of Madame Vigée Le Brun (from whom he bought several important works) by Marie-Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun (1755-1842), "As for the Duke de Berri, if he had not quite the same courtesy as his father, he was as clever, especially in that timely quickness of wit so useful to princes. His goodness of heart went so far that not only did he interest himself in everything that concerned his friends, but behaved toward the domestics of his household as the father of a family might have done. The Duke de Berri kept his revenues in good order; his heaviest expenses were occasioned by his taste for the arts, a predilection shared by his amiable wife."
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