Portrait of Madame de SEPTEUIL

Fine Arts

Inventory number
Henri François RIESENER (French, Paris 1767 – 1828 Paris)
Painting portrait of a woman sitting on a fainting couch and wearing an Empire style white dress with a wide lace collar worn under a long Polish style coat in red velvet and trimmed with fur known as a Vitchura coat. She is holding a white glove in her right hand. 

The noble lady is known as Angélique Euphrasie PIGNON (1770 - 1825). Daughter of the Farmer General, Michel PIGNON (1722-1787) and Angélique Catherine Jeanne GABRIEL (1739-1803). She married on February 19, 1786, Baron Jean-Baptiste TOURTEAU de SEPTEUIL, Louis XVI's First valet, general receiver of finances in Champagne. With the Revolution that occurs, Jean-Baptiste is the only one of his colleagues to escape the arrests of the insurrection of August 10, 1792. He emigrates to England shortly after, while his wife stays in France. The couple divorces on December 11, 1793. On January 23, 1815, she married as a second wedding Viscount Louis-Cosme de SANZILLON-MENSIGNAC (1783-1851). As her first husband died in 1812, she kept his family name and will remain known as Madame de SEPTEUIL.

This portrait is probably a portrait painted in the year of her second marriage. It represents Angelique Euphrasie with a certain realism at her 42 years old. RIESENER had become one of the most sought after portrait painters by the important figures of the Empire, however the flirty Lady who had married a man of 13 years younger also ordered another portrait from the painter Louis-Léopold BOILLY who presents her in a more flattering way. BOILLY was renowned for these portraits, precious testimonies of the fashion trends of his time (BOILLY also collaborated with the "Journal des dames et des modes" and with "Le Bon Genre"). In his portrait of Madame de SEPTEUIL, he represents her with the same white dress with a high collar but this time closed and the same red negligee coat. The details of the coat are significantly different. BOILLY having attached more importance to this new "Vitchura" style appeared in 1812 in French fashions, following the Russian Campaign of Napoleon.
Oil on canvas
circa 1815 France
Width : 9 cm
Length : 103 cm
Height : 90 cm

Exhibition History
• 2020.01.21–2021.01.21. ‘Aristocracy at the Helm of Fashion. From Alexandre Vassiliev foundation collection.’ Museum of Applied Arts and Design, Vilnius, Lithuania.