Charles Baziray – Portrait of the Countess of Flers - 1734
Charles Baziray was a French portrait painter, student or follower of Nicolas de Largillière. Born in Paris around 1690, he worked as a painter from 1707 to 1713 at the Manufacture Royale des Gobelins in Paris, under the direction of Pierre Mathieu, the King’s painter. From 1718, Baziray moved to Brittany, notably to Nantes, Rennes and Saint-Malo, where he enjoyed a certain degree of notoriety among the high society of the region and was commissioned numerous portraits. Married in 1726 to Anne Penet, daughter of the Lord of La Plallière, Baziray died on January 29, 1757 at the Château de Rosanbo, property of the wealthy and influential Le Peletier family. He is buried in the Lanvellec parish church, near the castle.
Portrait of Antoinette-Jordaine de Pellevé de Flers (1699-1738), Countess of Flers, Baroness of Larchant, Chatelaine of Lande-Patri, Dame of Frenaye, Chanu, Belle-Fontaine, Hemérez, Riou, etc. Hailing from one of the original noble families of Calvados (Normandy), last of the Pellevé family line and heiress of the county of Flers. She married Philippe-René Ango de La Motte-Ango on June 11, 1717, Lord of La Motte and Villebadin, Baron of Ecouché and adviser to the Norman Parliament. They had three children. She inherited the county of Flers from the last male descendant of the Pellevé family, Count Hyancinthe-Louis de Pellevé de Flers, Baron of Larchant and governor of Meudon, who died without male heirs in April 1736. Antoinette de Flers died in Paris a few years later, on February 6, 1738, at the age of 39. In accordance with her wishes, her heart was buried in the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris and her body next to that of her husband, who had died a year earlier, at the castle of Flers (Normandy). This property belonged to the counts of Flers until the French Revolution. After having gone through several fires and having various owners, it is currently a museum and seat of the Town Hall of Flers.
This formal portrait remained until the beginning of the 20th century at the Château de Villebadin (belonging to the Marquis de Flers, one of her children) along with the portrait of her mother, Madeleine Françoise Angélique de Gauréault du Mont (1677-1734), also painted by Baziray and currently at the Baron Gérard Museum of Art and History, in Bayeaux. Anecdotally, this painting was acquired as an anonymous 18th century French School painting. Having probably been relined in the 19th century, this old relining was recently removed while being professionally restored and the artist’s signature and date were discovered on the back. Exceptional quality work.
Sources: Benezit; Archives de France; Histoire de Flers, ses Seigneurs, son industrie – Paris 1855; Bulletin de la Société historique et archéologique de l'Orne, 1905.
Artist: Charles Baziray (c.1690-1757)
Signed and dated on back “Baziray Pinxit 1734”.
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Condition: Very good condition. Recently professionally restored.
Dimensions: 81 x 65 cm. / 32 x 25 ½ in.
Frame: 92 x 78 cm. / 36 ¼ x 30 ¾ in. Gilt sculpted wood. Good condition.