Augustus II the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony succeeded to the electorship as Frederick Augustus I in 1694 on the death of his brother, John George IV. After a military fighting career against France and the Turks, he renounced his Protestantism and became a Roman Catholic in 1696 in order to secure his election to the Polish throne as King Augustus II in 1697. In alliance with Tsar Peter the Great of Russia (see lot 2) and King Frederick IV of Denmark, he planned the partition of Sweden invading Livonia in 1699. Defeated by King Charles XII of Sweden who responded by invading Saxony and Poland, Augustus was deposed in 1706 and replaced by Stanislas Leszczynski. After the defeat of the Swedes by Peter the Great at Poltava in 1709, Augustus recovered the Polish throne. He attempted without success to convert the elective Polish kingship into a hereditary one but was nevertheless succeeded as both Elector and King by his only legitimate son, Frederick Augustus.
This enamel is inspired by a large full-length portrait by Louis de Silvestre, signed and dated 'a Dresde 1723', illustrated in H. Marx, Louis de Silvestre. Die Gemälde in der Dresdener Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, 1975, no. 15.