Friday, 10 January 2020

Royal engravings by Marie Louise Adélaïde Boizot

Researching the portrait busts of Louis XVI, I fell in love with the gorgeous engravings of the royal family by Marie-Louise-Adélaïde Boizot (1744-1800).  These portraits are described as after drawings by her brother Louis-Simon Boizot;  they compare readily with his designs for Sèvres porcelain medallions: see particularly, the original drawing below from the Musée National de la Coopération Franco-Américaine in Blérancourt.   There is little majestic about these images, but a great deal of comfortable opulence; notice the luxuriance not only of the women's hairstyles, but also of the men's casually beribboned ponytails. They seem a Sèvres dream made flesh.

Simon-Louis Boizot, Medallion of Louis XVI, c.1774
The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.
Simon-Louis Boizot, Design for a portrait medallion of Louis XVI.
 Black crayon and white chalk on chamois paper,  32cm x 30.5 cm
Blérancourt, Musée National de la Coopération Franco-Américaine. Formerly in the Rothschild collection
Female engravers were unusual, but by no means unknown in 18th-century France.  Marie-Louise-Adélaïde was from an artistic dynasty, the second of seven children born to the painter Antoine Boizot (1702-1782) and his second wife Jeanne Flottes (His first wife Marie, who died in 1739, had been the daughter of the painter Jean-Baptiste Oudry).  Marie-Louise-Adélaïde was taught drawing by her father and engraving by Jean-Jacques Flipart, who sold her prints from his premises in the rue de  l'Enfer She produced engravings after a number of artists in addition to her brother, including a few other portraits and several  fine, but mawkish, images of children taken from paintings by Greuze and Drouais. Only one - seemingly random - print, a portrait of the curé of Saint-Benoît, Jean Joseph Guillaume Bruté (d.1762), is attributed to her as the author of the original drawing as well as the engraver.

Royal Portraits

Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI, 1775

The portraits of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, dated 1775, are the first in a series of portraits of the royal family, which include those of the count and countesses of Provence and Artois, and that of Madame Élisabeth.  Each portrait was sold for 1 livre, 4 sols and existed in two versions: the first with the address of Flipart, the second with the additional address of Basset, rue Saint-Jacques, who sold the prints.  In the Journal de Paris for 22 July 1783, Basset advertised a "Collection of portraits of the royal family" which were  "engraved by Mlle Boizot under the direction of Phlipart"
 Bibl. Nat. Inventaire du fonds français, graveurs du XVIIIe siècle (1934), p.122-6 

"Designed by J. S. Boizot, engraved by Marie-Louise-Adélaïde Boizot, 1775.  
On sale from J.J. Flipart, Engraver to the King, rue d'Enfer, near the place Saint-Michel, at the lemonade seller's".

The Comte and Comtesse de Provence, 1776

The Comte and Comtesse d'Artois, 1776, 1778

Madame Élisabeth, 1780

         Madame Élisabeth, 1780

The Emperor Joseph II, 1777

Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI, 1781

 "In 1781, for the birth of the first Dauphin, Mlle Boizot and her brother produced a new set of portraits in the same format."

They also produced a engraving for the occasion, celebrating both the birth and  the continued Austrian alliance:

France receives from Austria a Dauphin, the precious fruit of their alliance,
Drawing by L.-S. Boizot,  Engraved by M.-L.-A. Boizot, 1781


Marie-Louise-Adélaïde Boizot on Wikipé

Other engravings by Marie-Louise-Adélaïde Boizot:
Contemporary listing

Portrait of  Jean Joseph Guillaume Bruté (?-1762), curé de Saint-Benoît à Paris, Docteur en Sorbonne
Portrait of the surgeon Peter Fabre, after L.-S. Boizot.
Engravings after Drouais, auctioned in 2018.