Madame Riesener (née Félicité Longrois, 1786-1847), known as a beauty in her youth, had served as lady-in-waiting to the Empress Joséphine. (And is thought to have had a brief liaison with the Emperor, as well.) In 1807 she married the painter Henri-François Riesener (1767-1828), himself the son of the famous cabinet maker, Jean-Henri Riesener. The painter Delacroix was a nephew of Henri-François, and therefore a cousin of the latter's son, Léon (1808–1878), who would also become a well-known artist. Delacroix was the elder by a decade, and did much to further the career of Léon, and the two were very close.
|Madame Riesener was forty-nine and seven years a widow when she sat for her nephew.|
|The details of Madame Riesener's toilette are very artfully chosen and suavely rendered.|