The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Louis XVII
  • François Dumont (1751 - 1831)
  • Louis XVII
  • France
  • 1790 - 1810
  • Miniature
  • Gouache on ivory
  • Diameter: 5.2 cm
    Frame size: 10.3 x 8.9 cm
  • Signature: 'Dumont'
    Inscription: 'LOUIS XVII' Engraved
    Stamp: Device of a broken lily
  • M100
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Louis-Charles, Duke of Normandy (1785-1795), was the third child and second son of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. When his elder brother Louis-Joseph died in June 1789, Louis-Charles became his successor as Dauphin. Together with the royal family he was imprisoned in the Temple in August 1792. He died in 1795, still imprisoned, as a result of the ill treatment he received.

    The miniature is signed by Dumont. Although its attribution and signature have been doubted, the style is sufficiently close to other signed and documented works by the artist for it to be accepted as his work. François Dumont became Marie-Antoinette’s favourite miniature painter after the death of the Italian artist Ignazio Pio Vittoriano Campana in 1786. He produced numerous portraits of the Queen and also painted the Dauphin several times. In Dumont’s manuscript list of his own miniatures, under 1790 the Dauphin features twice on his own and was also listed in portraits with his mother and elder sister. While he does not appear in the list for the following years, a posthumous portrait of the Dauphin by Dumont was shown at the Salon of 1814.

    It seems likely that the portrait is posthumous and was painted as a Royalist token after the death of the child. The style of the miniature does not seem to tally with a date of 1814 but it is conceivable that Dumont was exhibiting then a work he had painted earlier, or that this miniature is another earlier posthumous portrait of the Dauphin.