One of my favourite art historians, Joseph Baillio contacted me last week to ask about the provenance of the portrait of Françoise de Choiseul-Stainville, Princesse Joseph de Monaco that I have featured several times on my blog as it looks like it may have been painted by Madame Vigée Lebrun, who knew the Princesse.
I didn’t know who had painted it but believed that it was to be found (along with the famous plait of hair that she cut off just before her execution on the guillotine) at the Chateau Fontaine-Française, which is owned by the Comte Xavier de Chaumont, a descendant of the Princesse.
Mr Baillio has just got back to me to say that the portrait is indeed at Fontaine-Française and is a pastel by the Polish artist, Alexandre Kucharski who, of course, painted some well known portraits of Marie Antoinette and her family, such as the one above.
I hope, one day, to write a book about the Princesse as she fascinates me so much and that will involve a visit to see the painting for myself. I hope that a Vigée Lebrun portrait of the Princesse does surface at some point – it seems likely to me that she must have at least sketched her at some point. There’s also been some discussion of an Angelica Kauffman portrait too, but I don’t know if that was made up for dramatic effect by Julian Fellowes..?