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Title: Representations of the princesse de Lamballe (1749-1792) : the portraiture, patronage and politics of a royal favourite at the court of Marie-Antoinette
Author: Grant, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 2207
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis examines the portraiture and patronage of Marie Thérèse Louise de Savoie-Carignan, the princesse de Lamballe (1749-1792). It is the first comprehensive and detailed study to be undertaken of the princess's activities as patron. Lamballe was Marie-Antoinette's longest-serving confidante and Superintendent of the Queen's Household. Through close formal analysis of the portraits combined with careful consideration of the sitter's personal circumstances and the wider cultural and historical context, the thesis challenges scholarly assumptions that the princess had only negligible influence as a sitter and patron. As a case study of an independent, professionally ambitious and childless widow, it identifies a wider range of motives and cultural meanings than has previously been ascribed to female court patronage of this period. The first chapter demonstrates that the early depictions of Lamballe as a docile and grieving princess were largely dictated by her father-in-law, an identity the princess subsequently discarded when she assumed a professional role at court. Chapter two examines portraits executed during the princess's rise to political and social prominence and shows that her attachment to the queen and the length of time she spent in her company and service, together with her publicly visible roles as freemason and salonnière, made her a figure of considerable renown and influence and thereby a highly significant patron at the French court. This was enhanced by the princess's international reputation as a talented amateur artist in her own right and by her financial and social support of aspiring artists and art institutions. The princess's engagement with the cult of sentiment and advocacy of women artists is allied to the sorority encouraged by Marie-Antoinette within the women of her select circle. Complementary chapters on the princess's previously unknown anglophile inclinations (discussed in Chapter three) and her private collections, library, and musical and literary patronage (considered in Chapter four) further reveal that Lamballe was an informed and cultivated female patron who operated at the very centre of Marie-Antoinette's circle.
Supervisor: Johnson, Geraldine ; Whiteley, Linda Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Portraits ; French--18th century ; France--Court and courtiers--History--18th century ; Aristocracy (Social class) in art ; France--History--Louis XVI ; 1774-1793