Helene-Louise de Mecklembourg-Schwerin Duchess of Orléans and her son

Helene-Louise de Mecklenburg-Schwerin Duchess of Orleans and her son - château de Fontainebleau - © RMN Grand Palais

Hermann Goldschmidt (1802-1866) based on Frans Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873)
Oil on canvas
H. 218 cm;L. 140 cm
Fontainebleau, National Museum of the Château, INV. 9990

Commissioned for the historic galleries at the Palace of Versailles by Louis-Philippe in 1839, the portrait of his daughter-in-law is one of the first in a series painted by Frans Xaver Winterhalter. Helene, Daughter of Prince Frederick of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1778-1819), was chosen to marry the heir to the throne Ferdinand-Philippe d'Orleans. Even if this couple was not the most glamorous, they both seemed to like each other. The arrival of this German princess in France sparked several remarks of suspicion that eventually then became more friendly. Columnist Delphine de Girardin wrote: "Still, Madame Duchess of Orléans has one great advantage over our wonderful ladies in Paris in that she has the air of a princess while they all appear like dolls" and the Countess of Boigne said: "I was able to tell the Duke of Broglie very conscientiously that I found her as charming as he expected. “ Everyone agreed on her kindness towards the royal entourage and her desire to be part of the family. This portrait shows the Duchess of Orleans in full dress: Her ivory satin robe has a plunging neckline and the ankle-length skirt is lined with floral-patterned Brussels lace as her the satin shoes peak out the bottom. Her hair is styled in a headband below a lace headdress finished with blue satin ribbons.

Helene is presenting her son, Louis-Philippe of Orleans, Count of Paris. The child is tenderly clutching the knot on his mother’s bodice and wearing a lace alb and bonnet. This copy was commissioned in 1848 from Hermann Mayer Goldschmidt, a German painter and astronomer who would end his days in Fontainebleau, and was made to be sent to Algiers after the creation of the French departments of Algeria following Abd el-Kader's surrender.

2018-2019, Château de Fontainebleau, Louis-Philippe à Fontainebleau. The King and History.

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