Sep 25, 2008
Sep 26, 2008

Portrait of Étienne François, comte de Stainville, duc de Choiseul

Portrait of Étienne François, comte de Stainville, duc de Choiseul

mid to late 1700s

Jacques Thouron

(Swiss, 1740–1789)

Enamel in a gilt metal and enamel frame

Diameter: 6.4 cm (2 1/2 in.); Diameter of frame: 8.4 cm (3 5/16 in.)

Gift of J. H. Wade 1921.912



Unlike fragile portrait miniatures painted in watercolor on vellum or ivory, which are prone to cracking, fading, and flaking, enamels are resilient, impervious to the effects of light, and retain their striking original colors over time. Partly for this reason enamel was considered ideal for reproducing famous paintings and treasured portraits in a reduced and luminous form. The complicated and labor-intensive process of enameling required the artist to fire numerous layers of colored metal oxide at different temperatures. This process made it difficult to produce a faithful portrait likeness, though masters of the medium like Jacques Thouron were able create portraits of remarkable subtlety imbued with the sitter's personality.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.