Lady in Turkish Dress Holding a Fan

Object type
16,7 x 19,5 cm
Acquisition date
The Palace on the Isle - Bedchamber, 1st floor
Place of Origin
France (Europe)
The Royal Łazienki
Museum number
ŁKr 861
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In the catalogues of the Stanisław August collection and 19th-century sources the painting is referred to as a portrait of Lady Montagu, wife of the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, by an anonymous painter. ... Klára Garas was the first to suggest the authorship of Liotard ... .

The likeness, which due to the format should be defined a miniature, repeats, together with the dimensions, a lost drawing by Liotard, probably made in the artist’s Turkish period, therefore between 1738 and 1742, and known from a contre-épreuve in the Louvre ... . The only difference is the lack of a floral pattern on the coat. ...

According to Roethlisberger and Loche, the Łazienki Lady in Turkish Dress Holding a Fan is the same work as the miniature exhibited by Liotard, together with the paintings from his collection (he was not only an artist, but an avid collector and art dealer) in 1771 in Paris ... . The miniature was not sold at that time; two years later, in 1773, Liotard exhibited it in London. ... The possible buyer of the miniature remains unknown. It came into the collection of Stanisław August much later, certainly after 1783: it was first listed in the so-called ‘iconographic’ catalogue of the king’s collection drawn up between 1784 and 1792.

It is not a portrait, as was previously assumed, of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762), the wife of Edward Wortley Montagu, ambassador of Britain to the Ottoman Empire, who lived in Turkey in the years 1717–18 (thus 20 years before Liotard’s presence there ... ), but a genre painting. Liotard painted five such representations with Turkish themes ... . [See D. Juszczak, H. Małachowicz, The Stanisław August Collection of Paintings at the Royal Łazienki. Catalogue, Royal Łazienki Museum, Warsaw 2016, no. 62, pp. 242–244.]

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