A fine 19th-century French school portrait of a demure young lady wearing a black dress with white lace collar and cuffs. Her hair is styled into a centre parting as per the fashion of the day and she’s wrapped in a sumptuous dark green shawl.
The artist, Victor Favier (b.1824) has chosen to include the freckles on her face and hands, which is unusual as they were considered unsightly in the 19th-century. Women would often go to extraordinary lengths to conceal or remove them for fear of being judged by their peers.
So it’s interesting to consider how this decision was made… It was surely in Favier’s interest to create a portrait that the lady was delighted with, so why take the risk? I can only surmise that she insisted upon a true likeness that included an accurate representation of her skin.
And if that is the case, it speaks volumes for the kind of woman she was - one who would buck the trend in favour of an honest image.
Victor Favier was born in Versailles and trained under Horace Vernet (1789-1863). He exhibited at the Salon in Paris on multiple occasions and also worked as a drawing teacher in Agen.
The portrait and signed/dated in the lower right.
Oil on canvas
25½” x 32” / 65cm x 81cm
Year of creation
Areas of restoration. Scuffing around the edges. Some paint losses including towards the top of the dress. Light craquelure. Canvas relined.
Artist’s auction highlight
£3,500 achieved for ‘View Of Sorrento’ at Bonhams in 2007.