Commentary: Huntington museum lands a smashing gift, painted by court artist to Marie Antoinette
By Richard J. Rood
June 3, 2018
I have found the story of Antoinette a little muddled or embellished in my memory, though it is the core of the narrative of my family’s history. I remember Antoinette’s uncle, the Marquis of La Fère, giving her one of his paintings, a portrait of the Queen of France, with the instruction that she decorate it because she had lost the ability to make anything beautiful, even when he gave her the painting, she remained a painter.
But, the painting did not arrive for years and I was told there was only one copy. So, I asked Marie Antoinette’s family for the painting, to have it as a gift to help her remember who she was and where she had been.
The story was embellished a bit so that I think that a painting of a monarch by a court artist to the Queen of France, would have to be a big deal. I don’t understand why a painting of Marie Antoinette painted by court artist to Marie Antoinette needs to be a big deal, but that is what the family tells.
Now, I have found a complete set of portraits of Madame, painted by Marie Antoinette’s court artist, which was found in the Royal Library of Belgium, a gift from her brother, the Marquis de Noailles to his sister, the Queen, to help remember the royal family of Belgium.
The portraits of Madame were painted in 1784 when she was living in Paris with her youngest son, Napoléon Bonaparte, and the portrait of Queen Elizabeth, painted by the court artist, is believed to be a later copy, dating from 1802 and a gift from the king to his queen.
The book states that the Queen of