The Key to Her Heart

Mlle Athalante LeGrand, 1803


In 1803, the year of this engaging portrait, England had once again declared war on France. Despite that, Anglo-mania was prevalent in Paris with English fashions, such as spencers and turbans, being feted and applauded. This winsome young lady is classically dressed in a short-waisted black dress with a low square-cut neckline. Her black hair is upswept with charming wayward curls falling round her face.

The miniature portrait is signed ‘Mlle LeGrand / Pinxt / 1803’ and set in the original gold frame fastened with a tiny padlock, the reverse with a verre églomisé depiction of Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love) with a putto seated on a lamb. The frame hangs from a ring attached by gold chains with a tiny heart and a gold key.

The miniature is in fine condition, as is the frame, but the painting on the reverse has paint loss though this is mostly confined to the blue background and the outside border. It has been backed with toning blue card and looks better in person than the image suggests.

Trained by the acclaimed miniature painter Besselièvre, Mlle Athalante LeGrande worked in Paris as a miniaturist and painter on porcelain. Miniatures by her are not commonly seen.

Item Ref. 6889

Size: framed, 49 x 37mm + attachments

Provenance: A European Collection