The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Empress Joséphine
  • Jean-Baptiste Isabey (1767 - 1855)
  • The Empress Joséphine
  • France
  • c. 1810-1814
  • Miniature
  • Watercolour on paper
  • Image size: 13.5 x 9.4 cm
  • Signature: 'Isabey'
  • M216
  • West Gallery III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Besides producing many portraits of Napoleon, Isabey and his studio also produced many portraits of Napoleon's extensive family. He was also drawing master to the Empress Joséphine. Here he shows her enveloped in gauze, a treatment which helped to hide the signs of ageing and which Isabey frequently used for his female sitters from at least the 1810s. In the Wallace Collection this miniature is framed with an Isabey portrait of Napoleon dated 1812 (see Isabey, 'Napoleon I', M215). It seems unlikely, however, that this pairing was intended by Isabey - not because the couple were divorced by 1812 (see Schopin, 'The Divorce of the Empress Joséphine, P658), but because Joséphine is shown larger than her former husband.