Le Vachez – Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans – 1789
Bust engraving of Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orleans, represented in a ceremonial costume reserved for deputies of the Order of the Nobility: a black cloth cloak over a formal suit, gold cloth trim over the cloak, a lace tie and a Henri IV-style white feather hat. The portrait is set in an oval frame topped with garlands of oak leaves.
The following title appears in French under the frame: “Louis Phil. Joseph, Duke of Orleans. Member of Parliament for Crépy en Valois. Born April 13, 1747. General collection of Portraits of the Members the National Assembly held in Versailles on May 4, 1789. In Paris at Le Vachez under the Colonnades of the Royal Palace nº 258”.
Louis-Philippe-Joseph (1747-1793), Duke of Chartres, then of Orléans (1785-90), descended from the royal Bourbon family, yet became a supporter of popular democracy during the 1789 Revolution. He was the great-great-grandson of Philippe I, duc d'Orléans (1640-1701), younger brother of Louis XIV, and the great-grandson of Philippe II, duc d'Orléans (1674-1703), who as regent for Louis XV endeavored to secure his own secession over that of Philip V of Spain. Louis-Philippe-Joseph's own son Louis-Philippe reigned as King following the July Revolution of 1830. Louis-Philippe-Joseph was Louis XVI's cousin, but lived away from the royal court at Versailles due to his hostility toward the King's wife, Marie-Antoinette. Louis-Philippe-Joseph supported the underprivileged Third Estate and was considered a hero by the revolutionaries; after the fall of the monarchy in August 1792, he renounced his noble title and accepted the name Philippe Égalité. He was elected to the National Convention, and voted for the execution of Louis XVI. Nonetheless, Égalité himself was sent to the guillotine in 1793, accused of conspiring with his son, the future King, and Austrian accomplices.
Nicolas-François Le Vachez (1740-180.?), French engraver and intaglio printer. Born in Saint-Jean-les-Deux-Jumeaux, he resided in Paris from 1757. He became a print publisher from around 1778 and was still active in 1802. Associated from around 1789 with his son Charles-François-Gabriel Le Vachez (1760-1841), engraver and print publisher until under the French Restoration. They signed as Le Vachez, or Levachez fils, but it is impossible to differentiate their works. A Charles Levacher died in Paris on January 31, 1841 (Civil status: returned Parisian); it may be him. Not to be confused, in any case, with the bookseller Levacher, active in Paris from 1792 to 1810.
Sources: British Museum; BNF; Archives de France.
Artist: Nicolas-François Le Vachez / Charles-François-Gabriel Le Vachez.
Condition: Very good condition.
Dimensions: 28.5 x 22 cm / 11 ¼ x 8 ½ in. (sheet). 25 x 19 cm. / 10 x 7 ½ in. (visible).
Frame: 38 x 33 cm. / 15 x 13 in. Gilt wood (classic style), glass and acid-free mat.