CHAMPAIGNE, Philippe de (1602-1674). Portrait of Louis XIII.
82 1/2 by 53 1/2 in.; 209.5 by 135.9 cm.
By whom sold, London, Christies, 2 July 1965, lot 61 (as "P. de Champaigne"), for 280 Guineas to Dent; Sotheby's, 29th January, 2015, lot 379
The eldest son of King Henry IV and Marie de Médicis, Louis succeeded to the throne upon the assassination of his father in May 1610. The queen mother was regent until Louis came of age in 1614, but she continued to govern for three years thereafter. As part of her policy of allying France with Spain, she arranged the marriage (November 1615) between Louis and Anne of Austria, daughter of the Spanish king Philip III. By 1617 the king, resentful at being excluded from power, had taken as his favourite the ambitious Charles d’Albert de Luynes, who soon became the dominant figure in the government. Louis exiled his mother to Blois, and in 1619–20 she raised two unsuccessful rebellions. Although Richelieu (not yet a cardinal), her principal adviser, reconciled her to Louis in August 1620, the relationship between the king and his mother remained one of thinly disguised hostility.
At the time of Luynes’s death (December 1621) Louis was faced with a Huguenot rebellion in southern France. He took to the field in the spring of 1622 and captured several Huguenot strongholds before concluding a truce with the insurgents in October. Meanwhile, in September Richelieu had become a cardinal. Louis still distrusted Richelieu for his past association with Marie de Médicis, but he began to rely on the cardinal’s political judgment. In 1624 he made Richelieu his principal minister.
Although Louis had displayed courage on the battlefield, his mental instability and chronic ill health undermined his capacity for sustained concentration on affairs of state. Hence Richelieu quickly became the dominant influence in the government, seeking to consolidate royal authority in France and break the hegemony of the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs. Immediately after the capture of the Huguenot rebel stronghold of La Rochelle in October 1628, Richelieu convinced the king to lead an army into Italy (1629); but his campaign increased tensions between France and the Habsburgs, who were fighting the Protestant powers in the Thirty Years’ War. Soon the pro-Spanish Catholic zealots led by Marie de Médicis began appealing to Louis to reject Richelieu’s policy of supporting the Protestant states. During the dramatic episode known as the Day of the Dupes (November 10–12, 1630), the queen mother demanded that Louis dismiss Richelieu. After some hesitation, the king decided to stand by his minister; Marie de Médicis and Gaston, duc d’Orléans, Louis’s rebellious brother, withdrew into exile. Thereafter Louis adopted the cardinal’s merciless methods in dealing with dissident nobles.
In May 1635 France declared war on Spain; and by August 1636 Spanish forces were advancing on Paris. Richelieu recommended evacuation of the city; but Louis, in a surprising display of boldness, overruled him. The king rallied his troops and drove back the invaders. Late in 1638 he suffered a crisis of conscience over his alliances with the Protestant powers, but Richelieu managed to overcome his doubts. Meanwhile, Anne of Austria, who had long been treated with disdain by her husband, had given birth (September 1638) to their first child, the dauphin Louis (the future Louis XIV).
Champaigne was trained in Brussels by Jacques Fouquier and others and arrived in Paris in 1621. He was employed in 1625 with the classical Baroque painter Nicolas Poussin in the decoration of the Luxembourg Palace under the direction of French painter Nicolas Duchesne. Champaigne’s career progressed rapidly under the patronage of the queen mother Marie de Médicis, and in 1628 he succeeded Duchesne in the position of court painter. (He had married Duchesne’s daughter the previous year.) Champaigne also enjoyed success under the patronage of cardinal de Richelieu, Jules Cardinal Mazarin, and King Louis XIII, for whom he produced a number of religious paintings and portraits, including Louis XIII Crowned by Victory (1635). Champaigne’s triple portrait of Richelieu (1642) was used by Italian sculptor Francesco Mochi in Rome to execute a portrait bust of the cardinal. He decorated a gallery in the Palais Royal for Richelieu and executed (1633–40) perhaps his most masterful portrait of the powerful French figure showing the subject standing (officers of the church were usually portrayed sitting) in his cardinal’s robes, thus reflecting his dual position as prelate of the church and, in all but name, monarch of the realm.
Over his lifetime Champaigne produced many works for the various palaces and churches of Paris. In 1643 he became involved with Jansenism, an ascetic sect, and he rejected many Baroque conventions. His paintings became simplified and more austere, and his portraits, which often portray the sitter dressed in black, demonstrate his sensitivity toward and understanding of the subjects. His strongest works are the natural and lifelike psychological portraits he produced of eminent contemporaries such as architect Jacques Lemercier (1644), French humanist and Jansenist Omer Talon (1649), politician Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1655), Cardinal Mazarin (after 1650), and others. Blending Flemish, French, and Italian elements, his work is characterized by a brilliant colour sense, a monumental conception of the figure, and a sober use of composition. His portrait style shows the influence of Peter Paul Rubens and Sir Anthony van Dyck.
Champaigne became a founding member (1648) of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture and went on to become a professor (1653) and, later, the rector of the Royal Academy. He continued, however, to receive important commissions, painted prolifically, and enjoyed a celebrated reputation. One of the masterpieces of his later period is Mother Catherine-Agnes Arnauld and Sister Cathérine (Ex Voto de 1662), which was painted after the miraculous curing of his daughter, a nun at the Jansenist convent of Port Royal. Champaigne’s academic art theory emphasized drawing and was possibly the originator of the drawing-versus-colour controversy that embroiled the French Academy until well into the 18th century. Encyclopedia Britannica online
From the esteemed collection of James Ian Morrison, who was born on July 17 1930. His father, the 1st Lord Margadale, was, as John Morrison, the Conservative MP for Salisbury from 1942 to 1964. John Morrison was one of the most influential backbench Tory MPs of his time, as well as one of the most prescient: in 1972 (three years before Mrs Thatcher took over from Edward Heath) he predicted to one of his sons: "Mark my words, Margaret Thatcher will be the next leader of the party."
John Morrison remained in the House of Commons until 1964, when he was created the 1st Lord Margadale - it was the last hereditary peerage to be created, until Mrs Thatcher revived the practice in 1983 with viscountcies for George Thomas, the former Speaker, and William Whitelaw.
The family's rise began in the 19th century, when John Morrison's great-grandfather, having started as a draper's assistant, built up an enormous warehouse enterprise in London. The business was worth £3 million when he died - a spectacular sum in those days - and the family continued to prosper. Also, John Morrison married into the Hambleden family, owners of the W H Smith empire.
The Morrisons live at Fonthill House, near Tisbury in Wiltshire. They also own the 80,000-acre Isle of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland, and here James spent much of his childhood; he loved Islay for the rest of his life, spending as much time as he could there.
After Ludgrove and Eton, he was educated at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester (he was to become a natural stockman, taking a great interest in the 4,000-acre home farm at Fonthill). For his National Service he served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Life Guards. Then, in 1956, he and his father started Fonthill Stud, at Hindon, on the edge of Salisbury Plain.
James Morrison was a keen low-goal polo player into his thirties. His interests beyond the Turf included shooting and hunting. He particularly enjoyed shooting woodcock on Islay, but lamented the decline of grouse on the island. He was for many years president of the South and West Wilts Hunt.
Particularly proud of his association with the Territorial Army, he was Honorary Colonel of the Royal Wilts Yeomanry. He was also a member of the Queen's Body Guard for Scotland from 1960.
He was a county councillor for Wiltshire in 1955 and from 1973 to 1977, as well as chairman of the West Wilts Conservative Association (1967-71).
Morrison's involvement in racing went beyond breeding. From 1969 to 1980 he was chairman of Tattersalls Committee, ruling on betting disputes. He was also chairman of Wincanton racecourse, and acted as a steward at many of the major race meetings, including Royal Ascot.
Morrison succeeded as the 2nd Lord Margadale on the death of his father in 1996. He married, in 1952, Clare Barclay, with whom he had three children. Their daughter, Fiona, is married to the 3rd Viscount Trenchard; their younger son is the trainer, Hughie Morrison. Their elder son, Alastair John Morrison, born in 1958, succeeds as the 3rd Lord Margadale.
1. See B. Dorival, Supplément au Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre de Philippe de Champaigne, Paris 1992, p. 117, cat. no. XV, reproduced opp. P. 112.
CONDITION REPORT: The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, firstname.lastname@example.org, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This work on canvas has been lined using wax as an adhesive, which could certainly be re-examined. The original canvas is joined horizontally through the center of the picture. In addition to the restorations along this canvas join, there are others that have been rather broadly and sloppily applied in many other areas. The details in the lace, armor and face seem to still be quite sharp. It is probably fair to say that if the work were properly restored, including reversing the old wax lining and retouching more economically and thoughtfully, the work would be seen to be in very respectable condition.