Portrait Of Miss White by Joseph Désiré Court
Portrait Of Miss White by Joseph Désiré Court

Portrait Of Miss White (Presumed) c1838 by French Painter Joseph Désiré Court (1797 – 1865) a portrait paint and painter of historical subject matter.

This is a portrait of an attractive young lady in a lavish off shoulder floral embossed white dress with ruffled sleeves; wearing a gold jeweled headdress that has rubies and pearls at the front and side.

She is also wearing a matching gold string necklace, with a similar ruby and pearl cluster that in two parts extends all the way to her lap as she sits on a balcony with her left arm slightly leaning over a decorative brass railing that is connected to a large classic column on her right.

The scene completes with a background that depicts a terrain made of a forest and low lands with a lake (surrounded by land on all sides) running through it and further in the distance a large river (empties into sea or ocean) with rough waters accented by blue mountainous terrain; and a bluish white sky.

This is a retouched digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image.

Below Info Courtesy The Matthiesen Gallery

It is thought that the Portrait Of Miss White, referred to in the 1838 Salon catalogue as Portrait of Miss W, may perhaps be of the daughter of Louis-Philippe’s trusted valet, George White. There was a ‘Mademoiselle White’ in service during the 1830s as a chambermaid to Adélaïde d’Orléans, Louis Philippe’s sister and it would not have been uncommon for the child of a trusted servant to gain employment in the household of another member of the royal family.

George White himself had originally been employed by the brother of the king, the duc de Montpensier, and following his death in 1807 had been taken on by Louis-Philippe. George While is believed to have entered the royal family’s service during their first exile in England, from 1800-1815, and rose to be the closest of personal servants. George had rooms at both the castle of Randan and the Trianon at Versailles and was granted an allowance of 3000 francs during Louis-Philippe’s second exile, 1848-1850.

It is also known that George had an eye for art, purchasing works on behalf of Louis-Philippe on a number of occasions. Although this portrait of miss white may seem grand for a servant, it perhaps shows both the esteem with which the family was held within the Royal Household and also George’s connections within the artistic fraternity. Whether he was personally known to Court we are not sure, however Court’s extended activity at Versailles during the July monarchy must have brought the two of them to an acquaintance with each other.

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