China, circa 1805
Chinese giltwood frames
Dimensions: 9 5/8 x 11 inches (22 x 28 cm)
PROVENANCE: Mottahedeh Collection, illustrated in Howard/Ayers 1978, China for the West, volume II, number 674, page 649
Each portrait of an European lady, both simply yet elegantly dressed with serene expression, one with turban and heavy fur cloak, the other lady dressed in blue dress with pleated collar and cuff. Both ladies are dressed and coiffed in the fashion of 1805 and were probably of Swedish origin, the heavy fur recalling the style of Northern Europe and the turban, inspired by the fashion resulting from Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt. The Swedish merchant class ladies sought to follow the fashion trends of their time while under the rule of a French king. The hand of the Chinese painter can be seen in the lady’s treatment of eyes and eyebrows.