Thomas Frank Heaphy

Pastel-Toned Portrait Painting of French Empress Eugénie de Montijo 1850s



Watercolor on paper


Pink and blue pastel-toned realist watercolor painting by English painter Thomas Frank Heaphy of Eugénie de Montijo. Eugénie de Montijo (Doña María Eugenia Ignacia Agustina de Palafox y Kirkpatrick), 19th Countess of Teba and 16th Marchioness of Ardales was Empress of the French from her marriage to Emperor Napoleon III on 30 January 1853 until the Emperor was overthrown on 4 September 1870. Eugénie faithfully performed the duties of an empress, entertaining guests and accompanying the emperor to balls, opera, and theater. After her marriage, her ladies-in-waiting consisted of six (later twelve) dames du palais, most of whom were chosen from among the acquaintances to the empress before her marriage, headed by the Grand-Maitresse Anne Debelle, Princesse d'Essling, and the dame d'honneur, Pauline de Bassano. In 1855 Franz Xaver Winterhalter painted The Empress Eugénie Surrounded by her Ladies in Waiting, which it depicted Eugénie, sitting beside the Grand-Maitresse in a countryside setting, with eight of her ladies-in-waiting. She traveled to Egypt to open the Suez Canal and officially represented her husband whenever he traveled outside France. In 1860, she visited Algiers with Napoleon. She strongly advocated equality for women; she pressured the Ministry of National Education to give the first baccalaureate diploma to a woman and tried unsuccessfully to induce the Académie Française to elect the writer George Sand as its first female member. Her husband often consulted her on important questions.

Artist Biography

Thomas Frank Heaphy (born London, 2 April 1813; died London, 7 Aug 1873) was an English miniature painter. Heaphy was the eldest son of the portrait painter Thomas Heaphy and Mary Stevenson. His younger brother Charles Heaphy became an explorer and decorated military man, and two of his sisters also became miniature painters. He painted miniature portraits and has works that can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, London. In 1861 he published eight articles in the Art Journal that attempted to ascertain the origin of the likeness of Christ.

Dimensions With Frame

H 51.5 in x W 34 in x D 2.5 in

Dimensions Without Frame

H 43.5 in x W 26.25 in.
Pastel-Toned Portrait Painting of French Empress Eugénie de Montijo 1850s
Pastel-Toned Portrait Painting of French Empress Eugénie de Montijo 1850s