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Late 18th Century Portrait of a Lady Attributed to Henri-Pierre Danloux



A late eighteenth century portrait of a lady, oil on canvas, in a French Empire 19th century giltwood frame. Attributed to Henri-Pierre Danloux (February 24, 1753 - January 3, 1809). This fine portrait depicts a young lady wearing a plain, softly pleated cotton wrap dress with delicate muslin ruffle bordering the neckline of the dress. The sitter’s appearance is characterised by its simplicity, particularly her attire; the dress is noticeably plain, though retains a quiet elegance, and she wears no visible jewellery of any kind. Such sartorial simplicity is characteristic of evolving style in the middle to late 1790s where a preference for less elaborate and conspicuous appearance reflected the influence of the French Revolution, which championed freedom and democracy. In this portrait, such political and social ideals are mirrored in the loose, unrestricted wrapping gown with short sleeves that women had begun to wear. Similar sentiments of emancipation are also conveyed in Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792). In this seminal text the feminist and political radical denounces elaborate dress, stating that ‘an air of fashion is a badge of slavery’. Wollstonecraft’s vision of the liberated woman consisted of clothing that was ‘simple, elegant and becoming, without being expensive’, and unpowdered, uncurled hair in lieu of elaborate dress and towering hair constructions sported by women in England and France prior to the French Revolution. In this portrait, though the young lady is dressed in a manner indicative of Wollstonecraft’s emancipated woman, her hair is arranged in curls with a regular fringe. Whilst this could indicate a formal hairdressing process, it is certainly possible that this young woman had naturally curling hair which would have been difficult to train into the more relaxed styles of increasing popularity. Despite the sitter’s hairstyle retaining some of the more formal qualities of earlier fashions, the absence of hair powder in the sitter’s hair places this portrait firmly in the middle to late 1790s. During this period wheat meal, which was used to make the best hair powder, was needed to feed the English army who were fighting the French. This resulted in taxation of hair powder which, combined with the association of the conspicuous styles of the ancien régime, resulted in reduced usage, as reflected in this portrait.


  • Dimensions
    Height: 24.81 in. (63 cm)Width: 22.84 in. (58 cm)Depth: 1.97 in. (5 cm)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 1795
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Seller Location
    London, GB
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU957325624312

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    $175 Standard Parcel Shipping
    to United States 0, arrives in 7-9 days.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Estimated Customs Duties & Taxes to the Continental US: $0.
    Ships From: London, United Kingdom
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 3 days of delivery.

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About the Seller
4.5 / 5
Located in London, United Kingdom
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