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Picturing a World

Marie-Victoire Jaquotot

Marie-Victoire Jacquetot, the artist who was commissioned by Napoleon to paint a Sèvres tea service for Empress Josephine Bonaparte, came to my attention recently when that very tea service was acquired by the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. Much of what I could find about the artist comes in Marie-Victoire Jaquotot (1772-1855), « premier peintre sur porcelaine du roi » Louis XVIII, a post (in French). Luckily for those who don't read the language, the post has many illustrations, including enlarged details of this self-portrait and a picture of the set acquired by the Clark.

Jacquetot was recognized as expert at what she did. She painted at the Sèvres factory from 1801 to 1842, showed paintings on porcelain at the Salons of 1808 and 1836, and taught other women painters. Women artists, porcelain, miniature portraits—it all seems a rich field to explore as straight history or, potentially, for historical fiction.

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