18th century French fancies in Miniatures from the Time of Marie Antoinette at Philip Mould

By Ben Miller | 09 November 2012
An image of an 18th century painting of an aristocratic woman wearing a large hat
English, Lady Wearing a Hat Adorned with Feathres (circa 1790). Watercolour on ivory© The Tansey Collection
Exhibition Preview: Miniatures from the Time of Marie Antoinette, Philip Mould and Co, London, until November 13 2012

The masters covered in this show – including Augustin, Dumont, Sauvage and Vestier – usually have their portrayals of 18th century French aristocracy kept under lock and key in Germany.

But in a rare overseas excursion, this celebrated collection appears in London, replete with a Vestal Virgin, a baby in a basket, men with harps and the “Reine”, Queen Mary Antoinette – billed as a grand, decadent and indisputable figure here.

A court painter, Ignazio Pio Vittoriano Campana, is one of the artists to portray Antoinette. Adam Ludwug d’Argent paints Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II.

And the meticulous portraits, which were hugely popular at the time, take on a cast of other characters, from devoted lovers and eccentric hotheads to adored children and flattered officials.

The aesthetics of the French art are expressive and seductive. It’s easy to see why they were the inspiration of playwrights and poets.


More pictures:

An image of a circular gold plate with an oil painting of an angelic figure inside it
Georges Nicolas Toussaint Augustin (Augustin Dubourg), Lady as Diana (circa 1780-5). Watercolour on ivory© The Tansey Collection
An image of a circular gold plate with an oil painting of an angelic figure inside it
Ignazio Pio Vittoriano Campana, Marie Antionette, Queen of France (circa 1780-5). Watercolour on ivory© The Tansey Collection
An image of a pair of hands holding a small circular brooch with an oil portrait inside it
The miniatures are rarely sent on show© The Tansey Collection
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