La dernière Dauphine

portrait of Marie Thérèse Charlotte de Bourbon
gouache on ivory, signed "Chatain" circa 1825
When I went off to school, my father presented me with this painting so I could have something nice in my tiny dorm room. How long I've been attached to this wonky portrait with the bright eyes, its Empire gilt-brass frame of oak and laurel garlands and inexplicable rhinestones. I have moved it with me from one (tiny) bedroom to another for over 30 years.

This miniature was part of a collection assembled by my great-grandmother, who was something of a francophile. Over the last few months I have been cleaning and restoring the collection.
The portrait subject was unknown to me until recently when I opened the frame and discovered her name written on the back: La Dauphine Duchesse D'Angoulême. The painting is signed in the lower right front Chatain. After a bit of research I found that the noted miniaturist Hippolyte-Louis Garnier (best known to San Franciscans for his portrait of Lola Montez) had done a portrait of S.A.R. le Mme. La Dauphine, Duchesse D'Angoulême, around 1825, and made this lithograph after that painting. Chatain almost certainly copied after the same work by Garnier.

Garnier, Hippolyte-Louis (Paris, 1802 - 1855)
La Dauphine, Duchesse D'Angoulême
original lithograph with hand coloring, 1825

Marie-Thérèse Charlotte de France (1778-1851) was the Crown Princess and Duchess of Angoulême. She was the daughter of King Louis XVI and Marie Antionette, sole survivor of her immediate family, and the wife of Louis Antoine of Artois, the Duke of Angoulême. During the time this portrait was created she was in line to become the Queen of France, a title she subsequently held for a mere 20 minutes. She spent most of her adult life in exile in England and Scotland.

You can read more about the life of Marie-Thérèse in the historical novel Madame Royale by Elena Maria Vidal, and on Elena's wonderful blog, Tea at Trianon.


Newly painted columns at the restored Sanjūsangen-dō temple, Kyoto.
photo by Lynne Rutter, Kyoto, Japan, March 2009Vermilion columns, deep charcoal gray roof tiles, white plaster walls, deep malachite green shutters, accents of canary yellow. I love this palette.


Turquoise- the color of the year

Erling's turquoise straw fedora

Colors seem to go in and out of fashion so much faster than I'd like. Of course I never tire of a color that I love, further, I feel it's really the combination of colors that makes them appealing or trendy (or not) and not just a single hue.

A New Year, and time once again for the experts to announce the "Color of the Year" which for 2010 is to be turquoise: a bright color full of possibilities and which works well to jazz up a variety of palettes. You'd be surprised how well it works with black, oxblood red, and even lavender.

I am pretty wild about these cobalt turquoise pigments available from Enkaustikos and from Sinopia (right).

Golden Artist Colors makes a brilliant cobalt turquoise acrylic paint; I used copious amounts of it in one of my recent projects.

further reading!
  • Rather nice discussions of color from Ellen Kennon
  • Have a look at this charming blog "House of Turquoise" for thousands of lovely images featuring this favorite color.
  • Interesting "Color Futures" PDF brochure, from AzkoNobel features some new palette idea for 2010.
  • Sherwin-Williams has an informative color site with a lot of nice examples.