Black chalk and gray wash heightened with white chalk, squared in black chalk, on blue wove paper
Support: Blue wove paper
Sheet: 46 x 37 cm (18 1/8 x 14 9/16 in.)
Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1974.93
Catalogue raisonné: Harrisse 948; Bréton and Zuber 658 D
The Egypt-inspired decor throughout the interior seen in this drawing was especially fashionable in early 19th-century France.
Marie-Élisabeth Godard d’Aucourt de Saint-Just, shown here, belonged to a wealthy French shipbuilding family. Louis Léopold Boilly probably created this drawing to present for approval the preliminary composition of d’Aucourt’s painted portrait. The grid overlaying the drawing suggests a direct transfer to canvas; the image changed dramatically in the painting, where d’Aucourt appears in a grotto, unoccupied. That composition aligned with gender norms at the time that placed women in the natural world rather than the cultural sphere. Perhaps still interested in the drawing’s costume and interior, Boilly later reused them in a sheet depicting a working-class milliner, or hatmaker.
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