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Title Portrait of Count Nicholas Frochot
Alternative Title Portrait of Etienne Pierre, Graf Mejan (chamberlain to the Kings of Bavaria (d. 1847)æ
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Appiani, Andrea I (Italian painter, 1754-1817)
Date 1806 (dated)
Signed yes
Description This portrait is almost certainly portrays Nicholas Thérèse Benôit Frochot, Prefect of the Seine Department and Paris (b. Dijon 1761, d. 1828, buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris). As Councillor of State, he was a favourite of Napoleon who maintained him as senior Prefect of the Empire. When Napoleon was on campaign in Russia, Frochot was, in effect, his deputy. In 1812, General Mallet attempted a coup d'état claiming that Napoleon had been killed or captured in Russia. Frochot believed him and allowed Mallet to take over powers of the Prefecture. He was dismissed by the Emperor on his return but rehabilitated with another Prefecture in 1815.

In this portrait, he wears the order of the Iron Cross. He writes a letter which he starts 'Altesse Imperiale', his arm resting on books by his friend and protégé, Mirabeau. The portrait bust is almost certainly Eugene de Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy, who was Napoleon's stepson. The sitter is probably addressing the letter to him. A letter addressed to Frochot is seen under the inkwell.

Current Accession Number 1976P98
Former Accession Number P.98'76
Inscription front (on letters underneath inkwell) 'A Appiani, 18 Mai 1806'; 'R. Frochot [cons]eiller d'etat d'Etat de la Seine Paris'
Subject portrait (Count Nicholas Frochot)
Measurements 99.5 x 74 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Gift from the Public Picture Gallery Fund 1976.
Provenance Stephanie Eisenberg 1899 [?]; Sotheby's sale, 20 December 1973, lot 163; Alex Wengraff at P. & D. Colnaghi , 1976.
Publications Foreign Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, A Summary Catalogue, 1983, no. 2, ill. As Portrait of Etienne Pierre, Graf Mejan.
Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth
 

 

 

 

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