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    Sale 7448

    Old Master and British Pictures

    7 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 198

    Circle of Charles Le Brun (Paris 1619-1690)

    The Family of Darius before Alexander

    Price Realised  


    Circle of Charles Le Brun (Paris 1619-1690)
    The Family of Darius before Alexander
    oil on panel
    19¾ x 28¾ in. (50.3 x 73 cm.)
    in a Louis XIV carved giltwood frame

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    Presenting one of the most celebrated compositions of the so-called 'Golden Age' of French painting, this picture is based on the painting by Charles Le Brun commissioned by Louis XIV in 1660 and now in the Château de Versailles. Le Brun was First Painter to the King and, in 1648, co-founder of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. This fine reduction, possibly by Le Brun's pupil Nicolas-Pierre Loir (Paris 1632-1679), fully conveys the Le Brun's interest in facial expression, codified in his 'Têtes d'expression'.

    The subject is drawn from the Greek historian Cleitarchus of Alexandria (4th century B.C.): having conquered the Persian King Darius III, Alexander the Great displays his magnanimity by sparing the mother, wives and daughters of Darius.

    As Mrs. Jameson correctly noted in her history of the Grosvenor Gallery, the price Sir Richard Grosvenor paid for this picture in 1758 was 'considered very high at that period', and serves as a testimony to the very great esteem that Le Brun has always commanded.

    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.


    The Hon. Sir Luke Schaub (+); sale, Mr. Langford, Covent Garden, 28 April 1758, lot 56, as Le Brun 'The Tent of Darius, the original picture' (121 gns. to the following)
    Sir Richard Grosvenor, 7th Bt. and subsequently 1st Earl Grosvenor (1731-1802), and by descent in the Westminster collection at Grosvenor House, London and Eaton Hall, Cheshire.

    Pre-Lot Text



    J. Young, Catalogue of the Pictures at Grosvenor House, London, 1821, no. 47.
    A. Jameson, Companion to the Most Celebrated Private Galleries of Art in London, London, 1844, pp. 228 and 253, no. 41, as a study for the picture made for Louis XIV.