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Elisabeth-Louise Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842)

Charles-Alexandre de Calonne (1734-1802) Signed and dated 1784

RCIN 406988

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This elegant portrait highlights the French Finance Minister’s closeness to Louis XVI: the letter in his hand is addressed ‘Au Roi’ (‘To the King’). Calonne’s charter outlining financial reform (placed here on the table) might have prevented the French Revolution, but was not implemented. He was dismissed in 1787 and fled to England where he supported himself by selling his art collection.

Purchased by George IV before 1806