• Old Master & 19th Century Pain auction at Christies

    Sale 7783

    Old Master & 19th Century Paintings, Drawings & Watercolours Day Sale

    9 December 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 256

    Attributed to Giovanni Battista Lampi (Romeno, Trento 1751-1830 Vienna)

    Portrait of Prince Stanislaw Poniatowski (1754-1833), half-length, wearing the cross of the Order of Saint Andrew the First-Called, the sash and star of the Order of the White Eagle, and the coat of the Order of Malta

    Price Realised  

    Attributed to Giovanni Battista Lampi (Romeno, Trento 1751-1830 Vienna)
    Portrait of Prince Stanislaw Poniatowski (1754-1833), half-length, wearing the cross of the Order of Saint Andrew the First-Called, the sash and star of the Order of the White Eagle, and the coat of the Order of Malta
    inscribed '[PRO FIDE] REGE ET LEGE' (lower centre, on the star of Order of the White Eagle)
    oil on canvas
    35½ x 30¾ in (90.2 x 78 cm.)


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    Prince Stanislaw Poniatowski was one of the most prominent members of the Polish court during the reign of his uncle, Stanislaw II August Poniatowski, the last King and Grand Duke of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Stanislaw August saw in his nephew a potential successor to the Polish throne, and it is highly likely that but for the Third Partition of Poland in 1795, the Prince would have been its next King. Well-educated and well-travelled, Prince Stanislaw had a strong interest in the arts and in economy, founding an art school in Warsaw and instituting land reforms on his estates. An experienced and long-serving diplomat, he was a deputy of the Sejm, Marshal of that body in 1780 and from 1776 a member of the Commission for National Education. He was highly respected by the Russian Imperial Court in Saint Petersburg, where he was awarded the Order of Saint Andrew the First-Called by Catherine the Great in 1777, and held the highest Russian court rank of Actual Privy Councillor. Despite Paul I's offer to make him Grand Prior of the Order of Malta, in 1795 the Prince sold his possessions in Poland and went abroad, first to England and then to Rome, where his villa near the Via Flaminia housed his celebrated collection of pictures and cameos, as well a large part of the papers of Stanislaw August. In Rome he rescued Cassandra Lucci, the battered wife of one of his neighbours, with whom he would have five children, despite the refusal of the Vatican to grant Cassandra an annulment of her former marriage. In 1820 they moved to the Villa Monterotondo in Tuscany, where, in 1830, after the death of Cassandra's husband, the two were finally married.

    Portraits of Prince Stanislaw were also painted by Angelica Kauffman (circa 1786, untraced, formerly Florence, known from a preperatory drawing in Bergenz, Vorarlberger Landesmuseum, and a copy in Poznan, National Museum) and Marcello Bacciarelli (for the series of oval portraits of the Polish royal family, Poznan); we are grateful to Mr. Paul Kuznetsov for his help in cataloguing this lot.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that this lot is sold unframed.

    We are grateful to Agnieszka Pospiszil for proposing that the sitter may actually be Prince Karl Christian Joseph of Saxony, Duke of Courland (1733-1796), noting a resemblance to a portrait in the Ciechanowiecki Foundation at the Royal Castle, Warsaw, attributed to Anton Graff.