The following inscription, in the frame behind the miniature, identifies the sitter of the portrait as Mabel Morrison:
Ce buis/a été composé, dessiné/et sculpté, ainsi que la portrait/en miniature sur ivoire de/MmeMabel Morrison par/Charles Le Pecq de Tourville/habituellement nommé - /Charles Lepec, dans sa maison/de la Croix de Fer, à Reux/arrtde Tout l'Evêque, dept/du Calvados et terminé/dans la 1eresemaine de/février/de l'an 1887
Mabel Morrison (1847-1933) was the wife of the famous art collector Alfred Morrison (1821-1897), who as the son of a millionaire textile merchant devoted his substantial inheritance to amassing an important collection of rare objects, paintings and autographs at his Fonthill Estate, Wiltshire, and London home, 16 Carlton Terrace.
Charles Lepec (b. 1830) trained as a painter under Hippolyte Flandrin and exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1857 to 1859. From 1861 he concentrated on painted enamel, and it was as an enamellist that he established his reputation at the International Exhibitions in London in 1862 and Paris in 1867. Lepec's monumental decorative panel in the Musée d'Orsay is centred by an enamel portrait of Clémence Isaure shown, like Mabel Morrison is here, in profile and in the ornamental Renaissance style.
Alfred Morrison was Lepec's most important English patron, ordering all manner of enamel plaques and objets often through his dealer Robert Phillips of Cockspur Street. Given that this particular enamel depicts his beloved wife it is conceivable that it numbered among his most treasured possessions. Following her husband's death Mrs. Morrison dispersed some of the collection at auction. A three-day sale at Christie's from 25 January 1899 devoted solely to 'Objects of Oriental and European Art' included numerous pieces by Lepec, none of which match in description the present lot. It is therefore likely that this personal memento remained in her possession until after her death in 1933.