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Louis Charles d'Orléans, Comte de Beaujolais was born at the Palais-Royal in Paris. He was the third and youngest son of Philippe d'Orléans, Duc d'Orléans (1747-1793) later known as Philippe Égalité, and Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon, (1753-1821), the greatest heiress of the age being the only surviving child of the vastly wealthy Duc de Penthièvre. He was the younger brother of the last King of the French, Louis-Philippe I.
In April 1793 Louis Charles was arrested with his father and imprisoned at Fort-Saint-Jean in Marseille. During his imprisonment he contracted tuberculosis, a condition which eventually caused his death. His father was executed during the Reign of Terror in November 1793. Louis Charles remained imprisoned until August 1796 when the Directoire decided to exile him and his brother Antoine to Philadelphia, where surprisingly the French chargé d'affaires settled upon Louis-Charles an annual pension of 15,000 francs. Six months later they were joined by their older brother, the future King, Louis Philippe and together they travelled around the east coast of America to New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Maine and Nashville. At the end of 1797, in an attempt to return to Europe to meet their mother who was exiled in Spain, they were captured by the British in the Gulf of Mexico en route from New Orleans to Cuba. After spending a year in Cuba, they were expelled by the Spanish, so decided to sail to England via New York and Nova Scotia arriving in January 1800, where they settled at Twickenham, outside London.
In September 1804 Louis Charles joined the British Royal Navy, but the tuberculosis which he had contracted in his imprisonment a decade earlier, hindered his aspirations. In 1808, in an attempt to improve his health, his older brother Louis Philippe accompanied him on a voyage to Gibraltar, Sicily and finally Malta. However, his health continued to deteriorate and he died a fortnight after his arrival on the island. His funeral took place in June 1808; ten years later his body was buried in St. John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta.
This portrait is a version of a pastel drawn by James Sharples in New York in 1797, which was listed in the Orleans collection at the Palais-Royal, 1838. Painted in 1823 by the Dutchman Albertus Grégorius, a pupil of the great Neo-Classical French painter Jacques Louis David, his influence can clearly be seen in this, and his other portraits of the period. The reverse of the painting is extensively inscribed and bears the Royal mark of the Comte de Paris, 'LPO' surmounted by a coronet, with a similar mark of provenance for Chateau d'Eu. The Comte de Paris was the grandson of King Louis Philippe and great-nephew of Louis Charles.
Grégorius exhibited fairly regularly at the Paris Salon from 1812-1835 concentrating exclusively on portraiture and is recorded as painting Napoleon, Louis XVIII, Charles X and Louis-Philippe. He painted another portrait of Louis Charles in 1818 which was copied by Charles François Phelippes in 1838 and is now at Versailles. Examples of his other work in Europe can be found in France at Versailles, the Palais-Royal, and Chateau d'Eu, and in Belgium at the Groenigemuseum, Bruges.
|Height||25.50 inch||(64.77 cm)|
|Width||22.00 inch||(55.88 cm)|