Mrs Hervey Francis de Montmorency and her daughter Frances

Claude-Marie Dubufe, 1790 - 1864

Mrs Hervey Francis de Montmorency and her daughter Frances

Claude-Marie Dubufe 1790 - 1864


The sitter was the daughter of Sir Edward Cork. John Robert Leigh of Rosegarland, County Wexford was her first husband; Hervey Francis de Montmorency, direct descendant of the French Marshal Anne de Montmorency (1493-1567), peer and constable of France, her second. In this fashionable, romanticised portrait by Dubufe, Mrs de Montmorency is shown in a gorgeous day dress of white chiffon and lace, with a pale blue sash at her waist. Her brown hair is meticulously parted and styled into large ringlets on either side of her face. She sits at ease on a plush red velvet couch, behind which is draped a lavish swathe of contrasting, deep green velvet curtain, held back by a thickly tasselled cord. Frances lies curled up against her mother in a dark velvet dress trimmed with lace, her arms and head in her mother's lap and a happy, relaxed expression on her face. A tumultuous sky fills the open space behind them, with the faint suggestion of a mountain on the right. Impossibly close clouds add drama and romance, while the effect of the yards of translucent cascading chiffon is of a waterfall tumbling from rocks, implied by the monumental drape behind her. The irresistible suggestion of untamed nature, of a mountain river in spate in a wild, rocky and dangerous place, is balanced by the sitter's demure and placid countenance, and overall poise. It is a powerful statement of the family's equilibrium and their cultured appreciation of the latest fashion in portraiture. Claude-Marie Dubufe trained for a diplomatic career, before turning to painting, encouraged by his teacher Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825). Unsurprisingly, he began as a history painter. He then turned to genre painting, but it was after 1830, when he devoted himself to portraiture, that he achieved his greatest success. He exhibited over 150 portraits at the Paris Salon, mostly during the July Monarchy (1830-1848).

Object Name

Mrs Hervey Francis de Montmorency and her daughter Frances

Creators Name

Claude-Marie Dubufe

Date Created



object (object: 145.8cm (57 3/8in)): 145.8cm
frame (frame: cm):
object (object: 113.3cm (44 5/8in)): 113.3cm

accession number


Place of creation







Bequeathed by E. E. Cook through the National Art Collections Fund


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