A Sitter Suggested – Lady in Waiting to Augusta Prinzessin von Sachsen-Altenburg

February 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

744h 62ho Hofdame 1

A Sitter Suggested – Lady in Waiting to Augusta Prinzessin von Sachsen-Altenburg (no. 744h).

The Courtauld Institute of Art has a lovely spirited sketch, enticingly titled Hofdame of the Princess of Altenburg. According to the catalogue records, the drawing appears to be unsigned, but a semi-legible inscription on the reverse reads: Hofdame der Prinzessin … / Moritz … Altenburg.

It is quite easy to establish the identity of Prinzessin … / Moritz … Altenburg. This is most definitely Augusta Prinzessin von Sachsen-Meiningen (1843-1919), who incidentally is believed to have been painted by Winterhalter, together with her parents and brother, around 1849 (present location unknown); and who in 1862 married Moritz Prinz von Sachsen-Altenburg (1829-1907).

The date of the princess’s wedding establishes the approximate date for the sketch, which  would have been drawn some time in or after 1862.

A research of the Sachsen-Alteburg Hofkalendar suggests that the woman in the portrait is most likely to be the Princess’s chief lady-in-waiting, or Oberhofmeisterin, by the name of Fräulein Julie von Stenglin, genn. von Benninghausen. Further research establishes the dates of Julie v. Stenglin as 1812-1892. This would suggest that she would have been in her early 50s when the sketch was drawn. This (arguably) coincides with the age of the lady in the Courtauld drawing.

The Hofkalendar also states that Fräulein Julie v. Stenglin was an ‘Ehrendame des Köngl. Bayerischen Theresien-Ordens’, which is perhaps the insignia clearly visible on the woman’s left breast.

744h 1862 Hofdame detail

The drawing has been provisionally entered in the Catalogue Raisonné under no. 744h.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2015

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