The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
La visite rendue (The Visit Returned)
  • Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761 - 1845)
  • La visite rendue (The Visit Returned)
  • France
  • c. 1789
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 45 x 55 cm
  • P473
  • Boudoir
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The painting is among Boilly’s early masterpieces. Together with P479, it forms part of a series which was executed for an Avignonese nobleman and lawyer, Antoine Joseph François Xavier Calvet de Lapalun (1736-1820). In 1788 he began to refurbish the family residence in Avignon. The Marquis Alexandre de Tulle de Villefranche from Avignon, former client of Calvet de Lapalun who had left Avignon for the Ile-de-France, advised him on building an art collection for his new Hôtel and put him in touch with art dealers and artists in Paris, most importantly the young Boilly. In 1789, he sent two paintings by Boilly – P 473 and its pendant, 'La Visite reçue' (Saint-Omer, Musée de l'Hôtel Sandelin) – to Calvet de Lapalun as a present, and in the following three years served as an agent for the execution of a further nine genre paintings by Boilly for Calvet de Lapalun.

    All eleven scenes evolve around love in its different aspects and are set in an upper-middle class context. The characters are types as they could also appear on stage. The series does not tell a consistent, continuous story. Instead, it presents different variations and constellations. The subjects for the first four paintings (including P473 and P479) were provided by Tulle de Villefranche”. For the later ones, they were provided in detail by Calvet de Lapalun himself. Tulle de Villefranche’s constellations offer different options to read the scene and leave the plot open to interpretation.