The sitter was the daughter of Claude de Beauharnais, 2nd Count of Roches-Baritaud (1756-1819), and his wife Claude Françoise de Lezay (1767-1791). She was the second cousin of Eugène and Hortense de Beauharnais (see lot 416). Napoleon, who had married Josephine de Beauharnais in 1796, favoured Stephanie by adopting her and naming her Princesse Française. In 1806, Napoleon arranged her marriage to Karl Ludwig Friedrich (1786-1818), the heir to the Grand Duke of Baden, with the intention of securing an alliance between the two ruling dynasties. The couple had three daughters and among their descendants are the present King of the Belgians, Grand Duke of Luxembourg and the Sovereign Prince of Monaco. On the occasion of Stephanie’s marriage Napoleon showered her with several valuable jewellery suites, including a necklace and earrings of emeralds and diamonds by Nitot & Fils, now at the Victoria & Albert Museum (inv. no. M.3-1979).
The miniature relates to a full-length oil portrait of the sitter by François Gérard (1770–1837), the oil sketch for which is in the collection of the Château de Versailles (inv. no. MV 4877). A Sèvres portrait cup and saucer depicting Stephanie, painted by Le Guay and dated 1816, was sold Christie’s, London, 31 March 2008, lot 241. This portrait relates very closely to the present miniature.