In his autobiography, Jean-Demostne Dugourc (1749-1825) stated that he had prepared tous les dessins pour la decoration intrieure du Palais D'Albe. More usually known as Moncloa, this small Palace was inherited by the Duchess of Alba from her mother in 1784, and she immediately began a comprehensive program of refurbishment to repair the damage suffered during the Civil War. This work was abruptly halted, however, by the execution of Louis XVI on 21 January 1793 when the French were expelled from Madrid. It had been intended to decorate the rooms of the Duchess with 'un satin blanc broch, berceau de mauves et lilas avec vases de lapis lazzuli, dessus de la galerie des Bains de Titus ecussons nid de tourturelles', and these hangings, which remained partially intact in the collection of the duc de Sueca in Madrid, were recently identified by Madame Gastinel-Coural ('Apropos du Palais d'Albe', L'Estampille, December 1990, p. 66 - 95).
The Alba hangings are of closely related spirit to the Rothschild examples, although the decoration of the latter is undoubtedly more masculine, with its olive-foliage garlanded fasciae of the lictors. These may well be an allusion to Godoy, Prince of Peace and the lover of the Queen of Spain. For Godoy had had the palace of Boadilla refurbished for his wife/lover, the Infante Maria Theresa, when he inherited the palace of Buenavista, the former residence of the Duchess de Alba, in 1807.
Jean-Demosthne Dugourc (1749-1825) was brought up at Versailles. His father was Comptroller of the Household to the duc d'Orleans and he shared his lessons with the duc de Chartres. From childhood he had studied drawing, perspective and architecture. When his father lost his money, he became Dessinateur du Cabinet to the comte de Provence. He was commissioned to design ftes at Brunoy for the comte de Provence, operas in Stockholm for the King of Sweden, interiors for the Grand Duke Paul of Russia and a Palace for the Empress Catherine the Great which was never built. In 1785 he became Dessinateur du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne and Intendant des Btiments du Comte de Provence. In 1790 he became Inspecteur Gnral des Manufactures de France and set up a wallpaper printworks, a factory imitating English crystal, and others for making playing cards and porcelain. He worked with his brother in law, the architect Franois-Joseph Belanger on the Pavillon at Bagatelle. In 1799 he went to Madrid as Architect to the King. During the Restauration his old patron the Comte de Provence now King, made him Peintre du Roi and he began a new career in book illustration.
There is a similar smaller panel worked with a pelican in piety in the Landesmuseum Stuttgart, Inv. no. 1973-93, R. Gronwoldt, Stickereien, Munich, 1993, no. 89, p. 152.