Lizinka Aimée Zoé de Mirbel

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Lizinka Aimée Zoé de Mirbel
Portrait of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
Point of brush and watercolor, over faint indications in black chalk, on paper.
5 7/8 x 4 3/4 inches (149 x 111 mm)
Purchased as the gift of Walter S. Rosenberry, III.

Lizinka de Mirbel, an established portraitist in Paris who served as court painter to Louis XVIII and then Charles X and specialized in miniature portraits, was eager to depict the celebrated Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott during his sojourn in Paris in 1826. Her efforts are chronicled in Scott's journal from 3-6 November 1826 (although she seems to have later added the wrong date on the drawing). Paris Spies-Gans has aptly characterized Scott's diary entry as "patronizing, gendered rhetoric." Despite his initial reluctance, he sat for Mirbel and engaged her to do a portrait (now lost) of his daughter Anne Scott.
On Thursday, 2 November 1826, the author recorded: "...Made Mirbel came almost on her knees to have permission to take my portrait-I was cruel-but seeing her weeping ripe-consented she should come tomorrow and work while I wrote-A Russian princess Galitzin too demands to see me in the heroic vein." Scott notes that on the 3rd and 4th he "Sate to Made. Mirbel," and on the 5th, "We breakfasted chez Made. De Mirbel...I made rather an impatient sitter wishing much more to talk than was agreeable to Madame Mirbel." He sat again the next day, and the artist "took care not to have anyone to divert my attention."
Mirbel completed the portrait, and they parted on good terms. Her watercolor of Scott may have been shown in the Salon of 1827, and shortly after that, it served as the basis for an engraving by John Taylor Wedgwood (c.1783-1856), a British engraver working in France. Gilles Soubigou (2006) noted three editions of the print in France, indicating its popularity: an undated first printing; a second one published ca. 1829 as part of the Galerie Napoleon edited by Senard, with a frame drawn by Leloy and engraved by Porret; and a third edition issued in 1842. A painted portrait of Scott by Lizinka de Mirbel is also recorded but is unknown today.
Preparatory for the engraving by J. T. Wedgwood which does not seem to have gone beyond the proof stage.


Signed, inscribed, and dated at lower center, in pen and brown ink, "Walter Scott / Peint d'après nature par / Mme Lizinka de Mirbel. / le 6 mai 1826".
Watermark: fragment with letter E.

Private collection, Switzerland.
Associated names: 

Rosenberry, Walter S. III, donor.


Paris Spies-Gans, “A Revolution of Canvas: The Rise of Women Artists in Britain and France, 1760-1830,” London, 2022, 283-284, fig. 161.
Gilles Soubigou, “French portraits of Sir Walter Scott: images of the great unknown,” Scottish Studies Review (Vol. 7, Issue 1), Spring 2006.
Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Twentieth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1981-1983. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1984, p. 278.