This ‘cuir bouili’ (moulded leather) panel is a truly beautiful and rare piece of early 18th Century art. It is a profile portrait of the French King Louis XIV (1643-1715), depicted at around the age of 50. This image is based on a marble relief sculpture, created in 1687 by François Girardon (1628-1725). Girardon was a famous Baroque sculptor, who was active in the French court of Louis XIV. The original marble work is on display at the Hôtel de Ville in Troyes, and a copy of it is found in the Basilica of Saint Denis. This leather portrait is set within a carved giltwood frame, dating from the second quarter of the 18th Century. On its reverse are two labels, one inscribed ‘CH. POTTIER EMBALLAMEUR-PACKER/PARIS’, and the other ‘2919’.
The portrait is one of several ‘cuir bouili’ portraits of King Louis XIV. However, unlike the others, this leather piece has a rich provenance. The portrait once belonged to Anna Thomson Dodge (1869-1970), forming part of her impressive collection of 18th-Century fine and decorative art. The portrait was displayed alongside other important pieces, including paintings by Gainsborough and Fragonard, furniture from the French court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, fine pieces of European silver, and much more. Following Dodge’s death in 1970, the collection was sold off by Christie’s in London to many important British and American collectors and art institutions.
Portrait- Height 71cm, width 57cm
Frame- Height 92cm, width 79cm, depth 9cm