|Jacques Gustave Sidoine de Fitz-James (1852-1944), future 9th duc de Fitz-James.|
|Françoise de Fitz-James (1853-1907).|
|Marie-Yolande de Fitz-James (1855-1925).|
|Henri Marie de Fitz-James (1857-1924).|
These four portraits were done as preparation for a large group portrait of the dowager duchess of Fitz-James (1807-1888) surrounded by her children and grandchildren, but the project was abandoned before the painting was even begun. A rough sketch of the proposed work remains in the Louvre.
|"La duchesse Fitz-James entourée de ses enfants et petits-enfants".|
The Fitz-James family are descendants of James Fitz-James, the illegitimate son of King James II and VII of England and Scotland, by his mistress Arabella Churchill. Having no rights to the English and Scottish thrones because of his illegitimacy, in compensation James was raised by his father the king to the peerage of England and given the titles Baron of Bosworth, Earl of Tinmouth, and Duke of Berwick. This 1st Duke of Berwick would marry twice. His son by his first marriage, the 2nd Duke of Berwick, established himself in Spain where most of his descendants live today. His sons by his second marriage established themselves in France. The head of the French branch of the family would bear the title duc de Fitz-James, and from 1710 to 1833 the family maintained an estate at Fitz-James near Clermont. The last duc de Fitz-James died in 1967.
Ignace Henri Jean Fantin-Latour (14 January 1836, Grenoble – 25 August 1904, Buré), French painter, best known for his group portraits of Parisian artists and writers, mythological scenes and, especially, for his flower paintings; he is considered one of history's greatest flower painters. The son of an artist, his first instruction was with his father. He later studied at the Ecole de Dessin in Paris, from 1850, and then the École des Beaux-Arts, from 1854. He would become quite friendly with several young avant-garde artists - soon to become known as the Impressionists - but his own style remained much more conservative. In England, especially, his flower paintings were very successful, but he was less known in his own country.