The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Hedvig-Elisabeth-Charlotte of Holstein- Gottorp, Queen of Sweden
  • Peter Adolf Hall (1739 - 1793)
  • Hedvig-Elisabeth-Charlotte of Holstein- Gottorp, Queen of Sweden
  • c. 1784 -1787
  • Miniature
  • Painted on ivory
  • Diameter: 7.2 cm
    Frame size: 11.7 x 10.7 cm
  • Signature: 'hall'
    Inscription: 'Madam Louis Bonaparte ( ) Mad… / Hortense Eugenie de Beauharnais ( Marie Ann…' On a piece of tracing paper laid on the card, it can be read as a mirror image in pencil in a 19th century hand.
  • M187
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta of Holstein-Gottorp was born in Eutin, Holstein (now in Germany), in 1759. In 1774 she married Karl, Duke of Södermanland, who became King of Sweden as Karl XIII in 1809, succeeding his nephew, Gustavus Adolfus IV. The griffin of Södermanland in the coat of arms and the crown on the frame refer to her title. It is thus likely that the frame was made before 1809 and might be contemporary with the miniature. Hall uses the visual language of sensibility for the portrait of the Duchess. She is dressed simply sitting outside at a table with a flower bouquet, the broken column and a sarcophagus in the background referring to a landscape garden setting.

    Hall could have met Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta in 1766 when he passed through Holstein before settling in Paris. At that time she was only seven years old, certainly younger than in the miniature. Hall never returned to Sweden. The Princess is known to have travelled abroad only once, in 1798-9, long after Hall had died. Hall thus almost certainly painted her portrait using another artist’s work as a model.

    The Swedish King, Gustavus III, brother-in-law of Hedvig Elisabeth, went to Paris in 1784 and even visited Hall, who was an important member of a small colony of Swedish artists in Paris. It is very likely that the portrait of the Princess was commissioned then, together with numerous portraits of the King, his family and entourage.