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François-Hubert Drouais, The Comte de Vaudreuil

Key facts
Full title The Comte de Vaudreuil
Artist François-Hubert Drouais
Artist dates 1727 - 1775
Date made 1758
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 225.4 × 161.3 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by Barons Emile-Beaumont d'Erlanger, Frédéric d'Erlanger and Rodolphe d'Erlanger, in memory of their parents, 1927
Inventory number NG4253
Location Central Hall
Collection Main Collection
The Comte de Vaudreuil
François-Hubert Drouais

In this imposing portrait, designed to emphasis its sitter’s wealth and status, the eighteen-year-old comte de Vaudreuil (1740–1817) points at a map of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic). His father was governor of the island, then a French colony, and the count earned substantial income from enslaved labour on its plantations.

Vaudreuil was a junior army officer, but instead of his uniform he wears a blue velvet coat lined with squirrel fur and a brocade waistcoat with festoons of gold and silver lace. His wig is tied in place by a black silk ribbon fastened in a bow at the neck. The red heels on his shoes indicate his aristocratic status. Drouais’s idealising portraits often flattered his sitters. Although still only a young man and hardly in need of flattery, the count has a flawless complexion with rosy cheeks and lips and large, bright eyes. The portrait has an air of informality and, rather than military stiffness, Vaudreuil’s long slender body has a slight tilt.

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