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Nicolas de Largillierre and Studio, 'Mme de Souscarrière (?) and her Page', probably 1729

Key facts
Full title Mme de Souscarrière (?) and her Page
Artist Nicolas de Largillierre and Studio
Artist dates 1656 - 1746
Date made probably 1729
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 136.5 × 104.1 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1924
Inventory number NG3883
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Mme de Souscarrière (?) and her Page
Nicolas de Largillierre and Studio

As distasteful as we find it today, it was not uncommon in the eighteenth century for sitters to choose to be portrayed alongside a Black page as a sign of their wealth and status. This boy, with his lustrous earring and suit of embroidered velvet, is treated like the woman’s pearl-encrusted clothes and peacock-feather fan: a symbol of her affluence. Amid so much gold and silver thread, his collar – a sign of his enslaved status – is a horrible parody of jewellery.

This lady was once believed to be Charlotte Amelia, Princess Rákóczi (1679–1722), but it is more likely that she is Mme de Souscarrière, wife of Jean-Baptiste Bosc, chevalier seigneur de Souscarrière.

There is a higher quality version of this portrait by Largillierre on long loan to the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne, suggesting that our version may have been made with studio assistance.

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