The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Empress Eugénie
  • William Charles Ross (1794 - 1860)
  • The Empress Eugénie
  • c.1853-7
  • Miniature
  • Watercolour on ivory
  • Sight size: 10.5 x 8.3 cm
  • M162
  • West Gallery III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Sir William Ross was the most prestigious painter of miniatures in Britain in the early years of Queen Victoria's reign. The Empress Eugénie, who married Napoleon III in 1853, paid a state visit to England with her husband in 1855 which was a great success. This miniature was presumably painted during or soon after their visit to England or one of Ross's frequent trips to Paris. It cannot be later than 1857 as in that year Ross suffered a stroke and was no longer able to paint. There is a replica in the Royal Collection of the Wallace Collection's miniature; it is not known who commissioned the Wallace Collection's version. The brown of the dress in the Wallace Collection's miniature is probably faded from the original red. Eugénie wears a gold-braided mantle or jacket which is probably Spanish. The splendid necklace may be the collar of thirty-eight round and nine pear-shaped pearls which had been mounted for the duchess d'Angoulême at the Restoration and would be sold at the great sale of the French crown jewels in 1887.