Charles Joseph, prince de Ligne (1735–1814) was a distinguished officer in the Austrian army until 1790, an accomplished courtier, a noted wit and the author of extensive memoirs. He was elected knight of the Golden Fleece in 1772, and a commander of the Order of Maria Theresa in 1789. His country seat was the Château of Beloeil, near Ath in Belgium. The present picture is a sketch from life for a portrait by Grassi, signed and dated 1790 (London, private collection). Grassi is known to have painted at least one other portrait of the same sitter in 1807; other portraits of the prince include one by Leclercq (c.1790; Beloeil), a bust-length by Isabey (1814) and a miniature by the same artist. In the posthumous inventory of the 4th Marquess of Hertford the picture was listed under an attribution to Gainsborough.
Where to see this painting?
The Wallace Collection
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