Paris 1772 – London 1813
Portrait of a Man, Sitting at his Desk, Writing a Letter
Signed Villiers Hüet on the left.
Gouache on ivory, laid down on paper.
Diamètre 74 mm – 2 15/16 in.
This refined miniature portrait was drawn by the painter and miniaturist Jean-François-Marie Hüet-Villiers, sometimes called François Hüet. The son of Jean-Baptiste Hüet, who was himself a painter and a member of the Académie Royale, François Hüet made his debuts at the Salon in 1799 with a portrait of his father, and regularly exhibited until 1804. The portraits of the Duke and Duchess of York he exhibited at the 1802 Salon provide evidence of his early links with England, where he is traditionally said to have settled in 1803. In 1804, Hüet exhibited works at the London Royal Academy and, gaining the public’s appreciation in good time, led a successful career in England. In 1805, he was appointed miniature painter to the Duke and Duchess of York service, whose portraits he showed at the Royal Academy in 1806. One of his likenesses of Frederica, Duchess of York, is at Windsor Castle.
In 1808, he joined the Associated Artists in Water-colours, a group of artists who had separated from the anterior Society of Painters in Watercoloursfounded in 1804.
François Hüet executed the portraits of kings Louis XVIII of France and Gustave IV of Sweden, of the Duc d’Enghien, duc and duchesse d’Angoulême, and many artistic figures of his time such as the French dancer and choreographer André Jean Jacques Deshayes, Principal of the London King’s Theatre from 1804 to 1842. François Huet also executed oil paintings of landscapes or animals and watercolor views, some of which were engraved. He signed Villiers Hüet or Hüet Villiers, sometimes only VH.
Condition report – Very good condition