Élisabeth de France

2 May 2020

Today’s portrait by Vigée Le Brun is this delightful 1782 painting of Louis XVI’s youngest sister Élisabeth (1764-1794), in which the eighteen year old princess is depicted as a gardener, probably at the behest of her sister-in-law Marie Antoinette, who commissioned this painting for Versailles. This was to be Vigée Le Brun’s first portrait of Élisabeth, whom she described in her memoirs as ‘an angel of goodness… whose heart was filled with all the virtues: kindness, modesty, sensitivity, devotion.’

Madame Élisabeth never married and remained at the side of her brother and his family after 1789. She was guillotined on the 10th May 1794, a week after her thirtieth birthday.

(My upcoming biography of Madame Élisabeth is due to be published by Pen and Sword Books in 2021.)