Franois Marie de Broglie came from a military family of Piedmontese origins. His father was a Marshal of France, and like him, he entered the army, being promoted to lieutenant-colonel of the King's regiment of cavalry by the age of twenty-three. He served continuously in the War of Spanish Succession, being made a lieutenant-general in 1710 and serving with Villars (see lot 634) in the last campaign of the war, including the battle of Denain. After the war he served for a time as ambassador to England. The outbreak in 1733 of war in Italy brought him back into the field, and the following year he was made Marshal of France. In the campaign that year, he was one of the principal French commanders. In 1742 he was appointed to command the French army in Germany, winning an action at Sahay, for which he was raised to the dukedom. He returned to France the following year, dying in 1745.
The present picture is very close in composition to a portrait of de Broglie by Rigaud, sold at Sotheby's, New York, 20 January 1983.