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Emmanuel Chev. de Chateaubourg "Box with Portrait of Luise, Princess of Hessen-Darmstadt", 1796
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Acquired in February 2015 through antique trade, it is an oval box made of black glass with gold mounting. Inside its lid, it houses a 1st-quality Neoclassical miniature portrait of the 17-year-old daughter of Landgrave (later Grand Duke) of Hessen-Darmstadt Ludwig X, Princess Luise of Hessen-Darmstadt (1779-1811). The author of this miniature portrayed her also three years afterwards (see our image nr.14). On 20 September 1800 Luise married Ludwig, Prince von Anhalt-Köthen (1778-1802). They had two children, both boys (the first died in infancy, the second at the age of 16). Prince Ludwig died in 1802, when he was only 24; Luise outlived him by nine years.
This miniature is signed and dated "Le Ch. De Ch. 1796", which stands for "Le Chevalier de Chateaubourg 1796".
Hence, we discovered a very rare work of well-known Franco-Russian portrait miniaturist working at the turn of the 19th century, Emmanuel de la Selle, Chevalier de Chateaubourg. As we will learn below, in artist's biography, the latter spent the period between 1794-1797 traveling from court to court of varioius German states (it seems he had a permanent contact to Royal House of Hessen-Darmstadt - in the catalogue of the collection of miniatures completed by Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hessen-Darmstadt we found three other miniature portraits of members of this royal family painted by Chateabourg).
Until today there was a quite confusion in biographical information concerning the French miniaturist Charles-Joseph de la Celle, Chevalier de Chateaubourg (1758 Nantes - 1837 ibidem). A number of sources say that the artist lived in St. Petersburg from 1800 to 1805, from where he made trips to Tver and Moscow. Also the sources say that his sitters of this Russian period were exclusively member of high artistocracy and royalties.
An article by the Russian art historian Michael Asvarishch published in 2012 under the title "Emmanuel de la Selle, Chevalier de Chateaubourg (1762-1806)" is drawing a line between two artists bearing the same surname, one of whom really stayed in Russia and the other one did not. In his article (see our images nr.15-21) Mr. Asvarishch tells about two brothers - Emmanuel de la Selle, Chevalier de Chateaubourg (1762-1806) and his elder brother (so Asvarishch; after a close web research we think they were cousins) Charles-Joseph de la Celle, Chevalier de Chateaubourg. According to the logic of Mr. Avarishch (which we share entirely!) the here presented miniature was painted by Chateaubourg Junior.
Well, Emmanuel Malo de la Selle, Chevalier de Chateaubourg was born on 18 October 1762 in Rennes, France. In 1773 he became a page at court, then in 1778 he began his military service. In 1785, as a sub-lieutenant, he served under Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé in Vendée. After the revolution he joined the Nobiliary Infantry Regiment (le régiment noble à pied) in the Corps of the Prince of Condé. He held the rank of lieutenant when he retired in 1791 and emmigrated to Britain. In the period from 1794 to 1797 he travelled around the German states, growing in fame as a miniaturist until he finally settled in Berlin in 1797. He received portrait commissions from numerous German ruling princes and also from the Prussian Royal family. In 1800 the artist moved to Saint Petersburg where he became one of the most sought after painters among the high aristocracy and royalties. He filled a certain artistic vacuum left by August Christian Ritt's death in 1799. Emmanuel stayed in the Russian capital until his death on 14 April 1806. The author of an obituary included in the edited in 1816 in St. Petersburg edited "Ephémérides Russes Politiques, Littéraires, Historiques et Nécrologiques" strangely calls him by the first name "Dominique Emmanuel" (see our last additional image).
Once again, see our images nr.15-21 for the full aricle of Michael Asvarishch.
P.S.: For portrait of Luise's mother, Duchess Luise Henriette of Hessen-Darmstadt see our web # 36116 .
Provenance: Property of the late Lilly von Schnitzler (1889 Cologne-1981 Murnau); Sotheby's London, 24 February 2015, Lot 32 (see our image nr.23)
Condition: miniature: good; box: fairly good (splitted glass on the inside of the cover)
Creation Year: 1796
Measurements:UNFRAMED:5,2x5,2cm/2,0x2,0in FRAMED: 9,7x6,0cm/3,8x2,4in
Object Type:box with miniature
Style: Portrait Miniatures
Technique: box: black glass and gold mounting; miniature: watercolor on ivory
Inscription:signed: Le Ch.(evalier) de Ch.(ateaubourg). 1796
Creator: Emmanuel Malo de la Selle, Chevalier de Chateaubourg
Creator Dates: 1762 Rennes-1806 St. Peterburg
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