|Philippe Lasalle, Portrait of Catherine II of Russia, c.1771|
103 cm x 73 cm
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
The verse embroidered along the bottom reads:
"DU NIL AU BOSPHORE. L'OTTOMAN FREMIT. SON PEUPLE L'ADORE. LA TERRE APPLAUDIT" (From the Nile to the Bosphorus the Ottoman trembles: Her people adore her, the world applauds.)
In May 1771 the Princess Dashkova, visiting Ferney as part of an extensive European tour, had admired a portrait in Voltaire's own possession. On 15th May Voltaire wrote to inform Catherine that he had arranged for her to receive a copy: "Madame, I must tell you immediately that I have had the honour of receiving Princess Dashkova in my hermitage. As soon as she had entered the salon, she recognised your portrait in mezzo-tinto, made with a shuttle on satin, surrounded by a garland of flowers. Your Imperial Majesty should have received one from Sieur Lasalle; it is a masterpiece of the arts that are practised at Lyon......"
101.6cm x 74.9cm
(The portrait in the Met. is not on display and the
website only has this old black & white photo.)
Other examples exist in the Metropolitan Museum (acquired in 1941 from the collection of Mrs. Henry Walters) and in the Musée des Tissus in Lyon, which apparently also possesses (or possessed) Lasalle's original design. In 2012 the museum displayed the silk as part of an exhibition of woven portraits entitled La Fabrique des grands hommes which also included a Louis XV by Lasalle. (You can find Louis on their website, but not, as far as I can tell, the Catherine.) Another copy, in the Schossmuseum Berlin, was destroyed during the Second World War.
|Lasalle fecit, Lyons le 3 May 1771|
La Salle, Comte and Comtesse de Provence c.1771
Examples from the
Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.
The original on which Lasalle based his bust is not certain; this portrait by Fyodor Rokotov dating from 1769, features similar hair decorations.
Edith Standen suggests a print by Louis Bonnet after an original by Jean-Louis de Veilly (from the coronation in 1763), but I haven't been able to trace this.
"In memory of Philippe Lasalle"
Lyon silk portrait of 1842
John Goldsmith Phillips, "A silk portrait of Catherine the Great",The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 36(7) 1941, 1941), p. 151-3
Edith A Standen, "The mistress and the widow" The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 25(5), 1967 p.185-96.
Portrait of Louis XV
http://www.musee-des-tissus.com/en/02_02_set.htmlExhibition of silk portraits held in Lyon in 2012
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
Portraits of the comte and comtesse de Provence
Philippe Lasalle in Dictionary of pastellists
Lasalle on "A textile-lover's diary" [blog]
Notice from the Metropolitan Museum on Lasalle's "Partridges"