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Eugène Louis Lami (1800-90)

Gala Performance at the Paris Opéra, 21 August 1855 1855

RCIN 920071

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The Queen and Prince enjoyed a rapturous welcome during their State Visit to France in 1855.This watercolour, commissioned by the Emperor Napoleon III, records a gala performance of opera and ballet extracts given in their honour the Queen and her companions can be seen arriving in the royal box at the right. The Queen enjoyed the lavish arrangements at the theatre, particularly the richly decorated box in which they sat. But she was unimpressed with the performance, which she thought too long. Diéterle, who had trained as a stage designer, painted the architecture, and the society painter Lami was responsible for the figures.

Inscribed bottom left: Eugène LAMI / & / DIÉTERLE

Text adapted from Victoria & Albert: Art & Love, London, 2010