Monday 24 February 2020

Louis XVII - the burial of a prince

Here is the moving account of the burial of Louis-Charles's reconstructed from the recollections of those involved by the great 19th-century historian Alcide Beauchesne:

Funeral convoy of the Son of Capet, June 1794.  From a contemporary watercolour
[Illustration from Lenotre, Le roi Louis XVII et l'énigme du Temple]

On the 22nd Prairial (Wednesday, 10th June), at six o'clock in the evening, citizen Dusser, police commissary, accompanied by citizens Arnoult and Goddet, civic commissaries of the Temple section, presented himself at the tower of the Temple, in order, conformably with a decree issued by the Council of General Safety, to proceed to the official verification of the decease of the unfortunate little Capet, and the interment of his remains.

Sunday 23 February 2020

The death of Louis XVII - Shadow of a doubt?

This post  summarises the second half of Franck Ferrand's very thorough 2014 TV documentary on "the son of Marie-Antoinette" in the Ombre d'un doute series. I am not sure there really is much "doubt" about the fate of Louis XVII, but Franck makes the most of a good mystery - partly because the "survivantistes"  are so vociferous, partly, no doubt,  because it makes for better television.

Thursday 20 February 2020

Louis-Charles: Portraits from the Temple

It is unlikely that there is any genuine portrait of Louis-Charles "from life" in the Temple prison. As Marguerite Jallut noted,  many artists later found it to their advantage to claim that that they had penetrated the Temple: "In reality no-one came, no-one was allowed to enter except the municipal commissioners, the administrators and those who accompanied them..."(p.261). The only securely documented exception is Kucharski, who is thought to have gained entry with visiting officials, in early 1793.  Shortly afterwards there was a tightening of security.  An order of the General Council of the Commune, dated 1st April 1793,  forbade all guards or "any others" from making drawings (no doubt in particular floorplans of the prison);  those caught in contravention of this order were to be subject to immediate arrest. Louis-Charles himself was increasingly isolated. On 3rd July 1793, he was removed from his mother and placed under the surveillance of Antoine Simon and his wife. After 16th October 1793 he was no longer allowed to exercise in the prison garden but confined to the tower.  Following Simon's removal in January 1794, he was almost literally walled up alive.  He was found by Barras on 10th Thermidor in a darkened room, surrounded by his own excrement. In the final year of his life, under the care of Laurent, Gomin, then Lasne, his treatment improved, but there were still no unauthorised visitors.  It is possible that the architect Bélanger, one of the commissaries of the Commune, made a brief sketch but, if so, this portrait has never been securely identified.

A portrait by Jean-Marie Vien le jeune

This striking portrait in the Carnavalet, by Jean-Marie Vien, is probably the  strongest candidate for an authentic image from life.  An inscription on the frame, clearly later in date, read(s): "Portrait of Louis XVII, painted in the Temple prison in 1793 on the order of the Convention by Vien (fils) 1735-1806". (Laurentie, Louis XVII, vol. 1, p.555).

Unfortunately there is no supporting evidence that any such commission was ever made.

Musée Carnavalet, 
Louis XVII in the Temple prison in 1793 
Joseph-Marie Vien, the younger (1760-1848)
Oil on canvas, 60cm x 48cm
Signed and dated "Vien fils, 1793"
Acquired by the Carnavalet in 1922, in a "public sale"

Laurentie situates the picture in the mid-1793:
It is without doubt at this date (Summer 1793) that one should place the famous portrait by Vien fils.  In truth, this portrait does not offer a very reliable likeness, but it can serves to bear witness.(Laurentie, Louis XVII, vol. 1, p.40).
From now on, the little boy, who was always threatened by lack of air and vulnerable to rickets, saw his limbs grow long and his chest congested.  At the time that he was taken from his mother (July 1793), Viens fils, the miniaturist, shows him well-dressed but already narrow-chested and stooping. (L'Iconographie, p 23)

There is little information about provenance, other than that the Carnavalet  acquired it in a "public sale" in 1922.  In 1910-11 the picture was temporarily in the possession of the journalist Henri Rochefort, who used it to try to discredit the pretender Naundorff: 
I have recently been brought a picture that I first saw almost a quarter of a century ago, when the proprietor asked a price which would have put off even the most ardent royalist.  It is a portrait of Louis XVII, painted in the Temple by order of the Committee of Public Safety, by Vien, signed and dated 1793.  
In Rochefort's view the picture contradicted the claim that Naundorff, with his supposed  "Bourbon nose", bore any resemblance to Louis XVII:
The portrait of the true Dauphin, executed in the Temple only two years before his death, shows an infant who is frail, bloodless, evidently anaemic.  His nose is not at all aquiline and does not resemble that of his father.  To judge by his complexion and hair-colour, he rather resembles the "Austrian type" of Marie-Antoinette.  The Committee of Public Safety, apprehensive about the health of the little prisoner, had exceptionally authorised the artist into the Temple, which was closed to all, in order to make a portrait and prove to the public that the child was still alive.

The sad little victim, aged almost eight-and-a-half...wears a tight grey costume.  His hair, blond to red, covers his forehead almost down to his eyebrows;  his pale lips and flickering eyes, reveal that the future inheritor of the throne is already touched by death....
Henri Rochefort, in La Patrie, 12 November 1910.

Laurentie doubted that there was ever a formal order for the painting from the Committees. In 1910 Rochefort had appealed for documentation, presumably without success:
Portrait of Louis XVII by Vien.
Can anyone provide information on the work containing the order by the Commune or the Committee of Public Safety, to the painter Vien fils to go to the Temple in 1793 and make a portrait of Louis XVII?  
Rochefort in L'Intermédiaire des chercheurs & curieux, 1910 (p.787).

Portraits which show Louis-Charles after July 1793(?)

Laurentie followed his discussion of the Vien canvas with notes on several pictures which purport to show Louis-Charles at a later point in his incarceration. He even attempted to establish a narrative sequence which illustrated the child's progressive deterioration in health. It  seems pretty unlikely that any of these portraits are in fact genuine or, at least, dated correctly.

Sketch "by David"

As the section on the Musée Louis XVII shows, there are a number of highly disparate images attributed to David.

It is know that the artist  was present on 8th October 1793 during the second day of Louis-Charles's interrogation before the trial of Marie-Antoinette. However, there is no evidence that he  made a portrait at this session, let alone that one can be securely identified.

The most interesting of the "David" pictures is this one, which belonged to Alcide Beauchesne.  [Laurentie, Louis XVII, plate 116].  It is one of several portraits which shows Louis-Charles with light coloured short hair.

Le peintre David, Musée Louis XVII
See also the comments of Laure de la Chapelle, Carnets Louis XVII, 2006. p.9

Anonymous pastel which shows Louis-Charles "ill and perhaps the worst for alcohol" 
Laurentie, Louis XVII, Plate .108. L'Iconographie, p.23: 
(44cm x 30cm). 
Blue eyes, reddish blond hair; brown jacket with blue buttons, white cuffs and colour.  Summer 1793(?)
The work belonged to Georges de Manteyer.

For Laurentie, Louis-Charles is particularly identified by his unusually shaped ear. Again he has a small, rounded head and short hair.

There is actually quite a lot of information available about Louis-Charles's hair in the Temple.  Until January 1793 his personal grooming was in the care of the King's personal valet Cléry. Madame Simon is subsequently recorded as having cut his hair.  From September 1794 to January 1795 a perruquier called Danjout came to the Temple to administer to the child.  This seems the most likely period when Louis-Charles would be remembered as having neat short hair.

Drawing in charcoal by "LAVIT, soldier of the National Guard"  
Louis XVII, Plate no.112.
The picture belonged to the comtesse de Reiset.
According to Laurentie, the sketch shows Louis-Charles "drowning in grease and dirt" (Iconographie, p.23)

The artist is usually identified as Jean-Baptiste-Omer Lavit, (1771-1836), a pupil of David and later Professor of Perspective at the École des Beaux-Arts. 

This drawing still exists today in a private collection.  Laure de la Chapelle, of the Cercle Louis XVII, solicited an expert opinion.  The paper was found to be genuinely late 18th-century, though the verse shown in Laurentie's reproduction is a 19th-century addition. Speculatively (very!), the length of hair and absence of a fringe suggests a date when Louis-Charles was in the care of his mother after the departure of Cléry in January 1793.  

Before October 1793  child could theoretically have been glimpsed walking in the garden of the Temple by one of the guards;  however,there is no record of a "Lavit" among their number.

Sepia by Moriès
Louis XVII, Plate 118.
(25cm x 20cm)
The inscription reads "Portrait of Louis XVII, done in prison by Moriès, pupil of David."
This drawing too belonged to Georges de Manteyer.
Not a lot is known about Moriès (? possibly not even his full name)   He was a pupil of David in 1793/94 and died in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1812.  According to Delécluze, "This likeable and excellent man has not left a single work to consecrate his memory".
There is nothing about this picture which really suggests it could be authentic - Laurentie, however, saw in it the Louis-Charles of 1794:  "A sepia by Moriez...shows the child of nine that Barras refound on 10 Thermidor....We see a hunted beast.  Louis XVII is bent, fleshless, with burning cheeks, great sunken eyes, wild, frightened, his hair stuck down with dirt and sores."(Iconographie p.25).  

The Portrait by Bellanger

The architect François-Joseph Bélanger (Bellanger) claimed to have met and sketched the child shortly before his death, on 31st May 1795. This picture can no longer be traced.  Bélanger's account, given long after the event, has not generally been considered reliable:

Simien-Despréaux an author of the Restoration, wrote down the so-called Bellanger declaration, and read it to the man.  But the latter did not sign it;  this happened in October 1817 when Bellanger was 73.  Although he was undoubtedly there, and attended the Dauphin's meal, his account is inaccurate in a number of respects.  Whereas the majority of witnesses referred to the prisoner as silent during the months that preceded his death, Bellanger recounts that the boy was the first to speak and greeted him as a visitor. To Simien-Despréaux who wrote his statement, he claimed to have recognised him well.  He declared that his "habits at Versailles" had given him many occasions to see him frequently.  The "sound of his voice....his beautiful eyes and the blond colour of his hair" were indeed those of the little boy that he had "often seen a few years before his imprisonment".
Henri G. Francq, The unsolved mystery: Louis XVII, Leyden, Brill 1970, p.80

Interestingly the pretender Eleazar Williams later echoed the story, claiming that he had been taken to America by an unknown priest and a "Jacobin" painter called "Bélenger".  He recounted that Bélenger had sketched him in the Temple and also knew about the bust by Beaumont based on the portrait.  See Taws, "The dauphin and his doubles", p.26.

Portraits by Greuze?

Like David, Greuze is a catch-all attribution; see the collection of images on the Musée Louis XVII site:

Laurentie's considered that this portrait, which was in his own collection, represented the final depiction of Louis-Charles.  It had apparently belonged to Madame de Tourzel. 
Louis XVII, Plate 128, Iconographie, p.25

It is difficult to believe that this image, showing Louis-Charles with side parting and braces, can possibly be accurate; it looks German. 

Here is another, more recent candidate, for a late portrait by Greuze:

This striking picture, hitherto uncatalogued, was auctioned in Paris on 11th October 1981. The sale notice reads:

Presumed portrait of the dauphin Louis XVII, attributed to Greuze.  An inscription glued to the back is clearly legible and gives the following details: "Portrait of the dauphin Louis XVII at the age of ten years old".  Oil on canvas, attributed to Greuze, not signed; with the arms of the royal family of France at the top and on the right.  Provenance: sale by Sotheby's at Mentmore Towers  (Buckinghamshire) in 1977 of the collection of Lord Rosberry; previously sold by the baron Mayer de Rothschild.[catalogue entitled"Chrysanthemum"] Labels on the back of the picture read "Tennant Heirlooms 1907"and "1945", whilst  a third gives the address of Sotheby's in New Bond Street.

Émile Mouray,"Louis xvii, le portrait oublié",  AgoraVox, article of 03.04.2007.

It must be said that this is a beautiful and disconcerting image but, once again, sadly there is no real means of verifying the authorship or date.


Musée Louis XVII Michel Jaboulay

 Laurentie,  L'iconographie de Louis XVII... (1913)

"Les portraits de Louis XVII, prisonnier au Temple", Forum de Marie-Antoinette

On later iconography:
 "Heurs et maleurs de Louis XVII, arrêt  sur images", exhibition at the Musée de la Révolution francaise, Vizille, 29 June-1st October 2018.

Richard Taws, "The Dauphin and his doubles: visualizing royal imposture after the French Revolution", The Art Bulletin, March 2016, vol.98(1), p.72-100 [on JStor]

Sunday 16 February 2020

Louis XVII by Ducreux

This beautiful pastel by Ducreux  is traditionally said to represent Louis XVII in the Temple prison shortly before his death in 1795. The picture came on the art market in 2004, when it was sold by Sotheby's in Paris.  

Sotheby's, Paris, 2nd December 2004, Lot 121

Joseph Ducreux (1732-1802), Portrait of Louis XVII.
Pastel.  Oval,  43cm X 35cm.

 Probably no 21 in the Ducreux sale.
Collection of the duc Descazes (in 1901); sold at auction by his granddaughter, the Comtesse A. de Castéja in 1983, when it was bought by the current vendor.  Exhibited in the Petit Palais in 1901.

The work had an estimated value of 15,000€ - 20,000and sold for 15,600.

Sotheby's did not commit themselves to a date but, if this is indeed Louis-Charles, it clearly cannot date from 1794/5: the child depicted is much younger than nine or ten years old.  Despite Ducreux's famous drawing of Louis XVI before his execution, it is unlikely that the artist had privileged access to the Temple and its inmates; it is more natural to assume that he took the opportunity to sketch the King when he appeared in public during his trial.
See the comments on the Carnavalet website:

Neil Jeffares' meticulous documentation in the Dictionary of Pastellists, sheds a little more light on the Louis XVII portrait. Three, tentatively four, different versions are listed.  The original descriptions come from the sale of Ducreux's work by his family which took place in 1865.  Lot 20 appears in the sale catalogue as "Louis XVII, dauphin, painted chez Simon" whilst lot 21, probably the current picture, is described as: "Louis XVII, shortly before his death, his face slightly inclined and animated with a smile".  Ducreux's  great-granddaughter, who was responsible for the sale, presumably had access to the available information, but the accuracy of the listing still seems doubtful.

It is interesting to note that the sale included not only Ducreux's own work but pastels by his friend Greuze and by his teacher Quentin de La Tour, as well as a collection of royal memorabilia which Ducreux was reported to have "guarded with religious zeal".

Extract from the Dictionary of Pastellists:

There is no real doubt that the fine, expressive portrait is indeed by Ducreux.  Others of his pastels are comparable in style. See particularly, the study of an unidentified boy, sold by Christie's in March 2019, lot 22 in the 1865 catalogue.

Christie's "Lot Essay" reads as follows:
A pastel portraitist and painter of Marie-Antoinette, Ducreux produced several portraits of children which were left unfinished around the face, adding to the feeling spontaneity which emanates from his work. One of the more significant drawings is without doubt the Portrait of Louis XVIII  pictured as a child showing a hint of a smile, his facial features contrasting with the collar of his shirt and the bust which is barely depicted (private collection; see L.-A. Prat, Le Dessin français au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 2017, p. 242). A similar portrait by the artist of a young boy drawn on dark brown paper also in an oval format is at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (inv. 65.38.4; see Jeffares, op. cit., no. J.285.769)..

How about the date?

Another supposed portrait of Louis XVII which stands comparison with Ducreux's pastel is this one:

It was illustrated for the first time in The Lost Prince by John H. Hanson, a work written in 1854 in support of the American pretender Eleazar Williams. Hanson had seen the portrait in the Bryan Gallery in New York,  where the owner explained that it had come from the collection of  the French royalist Pierre Claude Prousteau de Montlouis (1761-1851), sold in Paris in 1851.

The reference checks out:  the catalogue of the 1851 Prousteau de Montlouis sale is on Gallica and the picture  may even tentatively be identified as Lot 81, "School of Greuze, portrait of Louis XVII, wearing a blue sash"

Interesting, Hanson immediately jumped to the conclusion that this too represented Louis-Charles in the Temple:
"It was evidently taken during his imprisonment in the Temple, as it bears tokens, in the emanciation of the form, and the pinched and painful expression of the features, of disease and suffering", (p.394-395)
Xavier de la Roche in 1986, concurred with this assessment, and even identified the picture with the lost portrait by Béllanger (Louis XVII: des documents - des faits- des certitudes, p.504)

We do not have the key to the mystery.  I am not convinced the boy in the picture is actually particularly anguished.  If he is Louis-Charles at all, he not far in age from Brun's depiction of the dauphin with his rabbit. This portrait is certainly remarkably like the Ducreux.  

There is one final, rather different, picture to throw into the mix: 
This is an oil painting reproduced from Laurentie (1Laur110) said to show "Louis XVII, Simon and his wife" by Boilly.  Lenotre made a lot of this work and based his ideas of the warder Simon's appearance on it.  But, thinking of all those Ducreux memes which have lately appeared,  isn't Simon, with his silly stripey socks, awfully like Ducreux's self-portraits?

See Lenotre, Romance of the French Revolution (1909) p.221/

Wednesday 12 February 2020

The Dauphin Louis-Charles: Drawings and painted portraits

There are literally hundreds of portraits of the little lost Dauphin Louis-Charles, Louis XVII, most of them of dubious authenticity. The most comprehensive catalogue remains François Laurentie's Louis XVII of 1913, a two volume limited edition work, aimed mainly at collectors and concentrating on pictures in private hands.  Dr. Richard Taws has remarked that Laurentie's work was a ""particularly sustained attempt to isolate authentic images in a culture in which, more than a century after his death, false portraits of Louis XVII circulate in the streets"(Taws, 2016, p.85).  This book is not available on the internet, but the plates and rubric are reproduced on the Musée Louis XVII website. My aim is only to pick out a few of the more interesting portraits and drawings mentioned there, or in Laurentie's summary article, L'iconographie de Louis XVII which is on Gallica. Some of these works have appeared on the art market recently, after the last update on the Musée Louis XVII site in 2000.

Laurentie's analysis has to be treated with a certain amount of caution.  The grandson of the Restoration legitimist journalist Pierre-Sébastien Laurentie, one of his aims was to refute false claimants to the identity of Louis XVII. This made him inclined to go further than the evidence really allowed in documenting details of Louis-Charles's physical appearance and his progressive decline into ill-health, "to fix the principal iconographic types of this blond child, with big blue eyes, a little large-headed, an exaggerated ear, and prone, of course, finally, to scrofulous rickets". (Taws, p.85).
  In reality the conclusions of this exercise are often extremely uncertain.

Early images

In the famous portrait of Marie-Antoinette and her children by Elisabeth Vignée-Lebrun at Versailles (1987) the infant Louis-Charles, aged two, is shown on his mother's knee, a doll with fair hair, big blue eyes and a rosy complexion. The picture is informative primarily for its details of the royal children's clothing.  The five-year old dauphin Louis-Joseph (born on 22nd October 1781) wears an costume "à la Marlborough" - short jacket, round open collar and long trousers.  Louis-Charles would have abandoned his dresses for a similar outfit at at about the time of his brother's death in 1789.  Laurentie identifies a first iconographic type  which shows him dressed in this way, with short jacket, trousers and with long hair.  (See L'Iconographie de Louis XVII, p.16-8.)

Examples include:
  • An engraving depicting the famous banquet of the gardes du corps (1st October 1789) in which the royal couple appeared with the child,  then aged four-and-a-half.  Possibly this one:
Detail of a contemporary engraving from Thiers, History of the French Revolution
  • A medal by Benjamin Duvivier, struck to commemorate the King's arrival in Paris in October 1789. 
  • An anonymous miniature in the Carnavalet - the original or an example of a widespread type - which shows Louis-Charles with a prominent nose and a central parting in his hair.
  • The bust by Deseine, dating from August 1790, when Louis-Charles still had a central parting in his hair.

Drawing by Moitte, undated (1790 or 1791)


Portrait of the Dauphin by A. MOITTE. Drawing in coloured crayons (29cm x 23.5cm)

This portrait is often dated to the period of the Temple, since the eyes have a singular expression of sadness.  But the Dauphin did not have to wait for 1792 to be afraid and cry.  The form of the nose, the flare of the top lip, the chin, the haircut, relate it closely to the bust by Deseine, therefore to 1790.  Moitte's drawings of the child date between 1789 and 1792.  From the Moitte family.  Belonging to M. Henri Lavedan (in 1913)
See: L'iconographie de Louis XVII... (1913)  p.18: A "superb drawing in coloured crayons" by Moitte which belonged to Henri Lavedan and which reveals "a certain swelling of the upper lip" (ie. betraying characteristic Hapsburg features) 

This portrait appeared for auction with Drouot in 2015: [ the sale of the Alcide Beauchesne collection, though this lot was from a different seller]

Drouot,  16th November 2015. Noblesse et Royauté, Lot 159.

Attributed to Alexandre Moitte (1750-1828). Dated "about 1791".
Pastel on paper, with coloured crayons and white highlights in its original gilded wood frame.  41.5cm x 35.5cm.

"This work was attributed to Alexandre Moitte by François Laurentie in 1913 (L'Iconographie, p.18) when it was in the collection of Henri Lavedan (1859-1940).  Acquired by Lavedan from the family of the artist.  Sold in 1941 to Léon Lacroix, and resold in 1945; thence by inheritance to the present vendors." 

The estimate was €20,000 to €30,000, but the lot remained unsold.

 Moitte, The Dauphin at the Fête de la Fédération (July 1790)

This image by Moitte exists in different versions: a sanguine drawing, a watercolour and various prints.  Laurentie reproduced what looks to be a preliminary sketch. 

Portrait of the Dauphin by A. MOITTE. Pencil sketch acquired directly from the Moitte family.  Height  6.8 cm, 1790. Belonging to M. Léon Masson (in 1913)
See: L'iconographie,  p.18: This "delicious sketch" by Moitte, shows Louis-Charles en homme, with a confident air and wearing long trousers.

Portrait of the Dauphin in National Guard uniform by A. Moitte (about 14th July 1792).
Design in sanguine, drawn from life at the Tuileries. The National Guard Uniform is exactly right. It is known that the Prince-Royal wore it on the day of the Second Federation, 14th July 1792...This design was engraved in colour under the Legislative Assembly with the title "Hope of the French people"... Moitte himself later made a lithograph, an example of which exists in the Bibliothèque nationale.  See also I'Iconographie, p.22: the owner is specified as Charles Salomon.

I am baffled why Laurentie did not relate the sketch to the finished work, and also why the dating is so muddled: it is clearly documented that Marie-Antoinette dressed Louis-Charles as a National Guard for the first Fête de la Féderation in 1790.  This would seem the obvious occasion for Moitte to have made his study.

The sanguine portrait was acquired by the Palace of Versailles in 2017, having been previously sold by Swann Auction Galleries, New York, on  April 28, 2016

Here is a nice watercolour version:

Portraits from Autumn 1790 to Summer 1792

Laurentie observed that by the Autumn of 1790, when Louis-Charles was just over five-and-a-half, his long hair was trimmed. For several months in 1790-91 it was very short indeed: the popular prints from the time of the flight to Varennes (June 1791) show him with a closely cropped round head. He was now often depicted in a jacket with lapels, sometimes in the national colours with blue with white and red trimming. (See L'Iconographie de Louis XVII, p.18-9.)

Laurentie wanted also to define a further distinct period, from the Autumn of 1791 to August 1792. As far as prints are concerned a fixed point was provided by the designation "Prince-Royal" which appeared only after Louis XVI's acceptance of the Constitution on 14th September 1791.  According to Laurentie, Louis-Charles now wore his hair longer again and from early 1792, as he approached seven years old, he discarded short jackets in favour of breeches and "ridingotes" (L'Iconographie, p.21-27).  However, I am not sure the dating of the pictures is really secure enough to sustain this degree of specificity.

The defining work from this era is the official portrait by Kucharski, which was possibly begun as early as August 1791, though the earliest extant versions are dated 1792. There is no direct evidence that any other portraits were posed for, although at this time the Dauphin was still visible to observers and the broad characteristics of his physiognomy would presumably have been known.  

There are a number of supposed portraits from these years attributed to major artists, notably Boilly [1Laur51] and Greuze [1Laur52] but these are of doubtful authenticity. The most interesting (?convincing) images from this time show Louis-Charles with his rounded head and short hair:

Portrait  in coloured crayons by Jean-Paul Lucas (1737-1808)

This picture belonged to M. Tausserat-Radel in 1913.  (L'Iconographie, p.21)  

The artist Jean-Paul Lucas (1737-1808), came from a family of artists and sculptors from Toulouse.

The drawing is dated  26th February 1792.  Laurentie described it as "sincere and a little clumsy".  He felt that the profile revealed  Louis-Charles's physiognomy -  a large, ill-placed ear, tall pointed skull and turned up nose.  These features are not apparent in the more idealised images of Greuze and Kucharski, or the miniatures of Dumont.  

There is an entry for this picture on the Musée Louis XVII website under "Fonds Coutin". I assume this is information was collated  by a Cercle Louis XVII member (Mlle Coutin?): not sure if this they had access to the actual drawing.
Drawing in coloured pencils (35cm x 25 cm). A label in pencil, recopied in ink,  on the reverse of the frame, reads: "Portrait of Louis Capet, by Citizen Lucas, in the year 1791, 26th February".  The term "Louis Capet" shows that the label is not contemporary.   We think it ought to read "1792". The child is wearing a "coat" which he did not do before 1791, whereas he is consistently represented in one in 1792.  Jean-Paul Lucas, died in Toulouse in 1808.  He was organiser of the Museum of Toulouse.
    This is one of the few images with a definite date, so it seems perverse to contest it  - I don't see why this picture should be later than February 1791 just because of the costume.

    Studies by the Louis-Auguste Brun (1758-1815)

    1Laur42 and 1Laur45

    The Swiss artist Brun was painter of the famous equestrian portrait of Marie-Antoinette. All that is  known for certain about his movements in the Revolution is that he left France to take refuge in Geneva at some time in late 1792. Tradition has it that he contrived to communicate with Marie-Antoinette in the Temple; caught carrying a letter to the émigré princes, he was saved from prosecution by his fellow artist, Jean-Louis Prieur.

    The first portrait is from an album belonging to a M. Panchaud (in 1913).
    The dauphin is shown as a young "gardener" with a rabbit in his arms. The short hair and the collared jacket suggest a date of summer 1791 (Iconographie, p.19-20).  

    See:Joseph Raymond Fournier-Sarlovèze, Louis Auguste Brun : peintre de Marie Antoinette, 1758-1815  (1911), p.126-30.
    This biography reproduces the portrait, together with a portrait of Marie-Thérèse from the same album. There is no further information as to date.  

    Brun's pastel, reproduced in colour in
    the Dictionary of Pastellists

    Drawing, coloured in  pastel, attributed to Brun.

    This picture, not otherwise documented, belonged to Laurentie himself (in 1913). There is no date, but Laurentie puts it "towards the end of 1791".

    Louis-Charles is depicted in a jacket of national colours.  Larentie quotes Le Notre to the effect that artists no longer flattered princes and that the dauphin's expression already shows constraint
    Following the historian Georges de Manteyer (1867-1948), Laurentie  made much of the dauphin's "enormous earlobe" (p.21) However, other features are clearly inaccurate, notably the black hair colour.

    A painted panel by the Dutch artist Nicolaes Muys (1740 -1808),  signed and dated 1791 


    This picture, "newly rediscovered" in 1913, shows Marie-Antoinette and her two children in a garden reminiscent of Versailles.  Despite the element of fantasy, Laurentie was convinced that the work was based on preliminary sketches and notes from life; Louis-Charles is clearly recognisable from his colouring and haircut, and from the style of his clothes; the lily growing next to him is a symbol of royalty.
    This work too has been on the market recently.  It was sold by Christie's in London in 2000: the vendors were cautious and identified the subject only as a family group:

    Christie's, London, 7th July 2000, Old Master Pictures,  Lot 143.

    Nicolaes Muys (Rotterdam 1740-1808)
    A group portrait of a family in an ornamental garden
    signed and dated 'N.MUYS F. A: 1791.' (lower right)
    oil on panel
    34 x 27½ in. (86.4cm  x 69.8 cm.)
    In a Louis XVI carved and gilded frame with tied ribbon cresting above laurel leaf and berry swags

    The fact that the picture fetched £44,650 against an estimate of £25,000-£35,000 suggests that the purchasers thought that it represented the royal family.

    Provenance:   Private collection, France, since the end of the 18th century. Fischhof; sale, Petit Palais, Paris, 14 June 1913, lot 32, as 'Marie Antoinette and her children in the Park at Versailles'.

    Catalogue de tableaux anciens des écoles anglaise, flamande, française, hollandaise, italienne..., pastels et miniatures composant la collection de M. Eugène Fischhof 

    A note adds that the picture is completely unrecorded; it had been owned by the same family since the Revolution.  The owners preserved the  tradition that Muys used the work as a pretext to approach the royal family concerning arrangements for the flight to Varennes.  The date of the painting fits with this.  Albert Vuaflart, expert on the iconography of Marie-Antoinette,  felt that Muys had known his sitters and based his work on notes or sketches from life.

    Louis-Charles in Autumn 1792

    Miniature by Agathe Lemoine (dated 8th September 1792) 


    This little image once belonged to Madame de Tourzel,and was in the possession of the duc de Blacas in 1913.

    Virtually nothing is known about the artist:
    Agathe Jeanne Thérèse Bonvallet (1753-1794), was the wife of the portraitist Jacques-Antoine-Marie Lemoine (1751-1824)  No other work by her seems to be known.

    It is hard to say if this image has any documentary value: Laurentie commented that it showed the child's "Austrian" profile (L'Iconographie, p.22).  Louis-Charles is depicted in a long redingote with his hair tied in a ponytail.

    An engraving after the work was sold in the Beauchesne sale : 

    Lot 165 of Noblesse et Royauté, Drouot, 16 November 2015. Engraving after:
    "Miniature of Louis XVII in the Temple.  Painted by Agathe Bon. Lemoine le 8 Sept.1792". 5 cm.

    See the comments on the Forum Marie-Antoinette:


    François Laurentie,  L'iconographie de Louis XVII... (1913).  Monograph version of an article published in Revue de l'art, 1913 - 25 pages
    A full survey, with photographs, was produced as a supplement to Laurentie's 1913 work Louis XVII: d'après des documents inédits.  The relevant text and illustrations are reproduced on the Musée Louis XVII website:
    "Fonds Laurentie", Musée Louis XVII.  [website created by Michel Jaboulay]

    Neil Jeffares, Dictionary of pastellists [online]. Various entries

    Richard Taws, "The Dauphin and his doubles: visualizing royal imposture after the French Revolution", The Art Bulletin, March 2016, vol.98(1): p.72-100 [on JStor]

    Discussions on the "Forum Marie-Antoinette":
    Physical attributes of Marie-Antoinette's children, November 2014
    Various portraits of Louis-Charles,  in February 2015.
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