L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Jacques de Goyon III, sire de Matignon, comte de Thorigny, portrait by Henri Gascar, circa 1660s

This painting, formerly in the collection of King Louis Philippe, was auctioned in 2006 in New York by Sotheby's, who published the following information:

As is often the case for pictures from the collection of King Louis-Philippe (reigned 1830-1848), the reverse of the canvas bears his distinctive monogram stamp and extensive text identifying the sitter.  The present picture, however, has received two such identifications.  A first inscription, which has been crossed out, reads:Charles Auguste Goyon de Matignon, Comte de Gacé, Maréchal de France, 6º fils de François de Matignon, Comte de Thorigny & de Gacé & de Anne Malon de Bercy, né le 28 Mai 1647, marié à Paris le 8 Avril 1681 à Marie Elisabeth Berthelot, mort à Paris le 6 Décembre 1729.

The second inscription, located above the aforementioned one, reads:
Jacques Goyon III, Sire de Matignon, Comte de Thorigny.
Baron de St Lô, 5º fils de François de Matignon& de Anne Malon de Bercy./  Né à Thorigny le 28 Mai 1644./  Chevalier des Ordres du Roi en 1693./  Marié en 1675 à sa nièce Charlotte de Matignon, fille de Henri de Matignon, et de Marie Françoise le Tellier./  Mort à Paris le 14 Janvier 1725.

Jacques Goyon III, whose biographical information is provided in the latter inscription, was the guide of the King's Scottish Guards, and served in the military in Barbaria and Portugal.   Appointed Chevalier des Ordres du Roi (a prestigious order of kinghthood) in 1688, he was then appointed lieutenant general in 1693.  He was one of the bearers of honors on the occasion of Louis XV's crowning in 1722.  On July 25, 1723, he bought a large piece of land from the Prince de Tingry on the rue de Varenne in Paris.  The latter had begun building a lavish hôtel particulier, known today as the hôtel de Matignon, where France's Prime Minister lives to this day.

He married his cousin Charlotte de Matignon, with whom he had several children, among which was Jacques-François-Léonor, duc de Valentinois (1689-1751).  After the latter's marriage with Louis[e] Hyppolyte Grimaldi in 1715, he became assimilated to the Grimaldi dynasty, thereby forming the second reigning house of Monaco.


Henri Gascar, also spelled Gascard or Gascars (1634 or 1635, Paris - 1 January 1701, Rome), French portrait painter. Son of a minor painter and sculptor, he achieved his greatest success in England during the reign of Charles II. His flamboyant style was well suited to the frivolity of the English court, and he painted many of its leading ladies, including several of the King's mistresses. After his return to Paris, Gascar was elected a member of the Académie Royale in 1680. He subsequently went to Rome, where he was held in high esteem, and where he died at the age of about sixty-six.
Of course, the comte's beautiful gloves remind of those I gave to the overdressed "falconer" in my painting Plus féroce que ce qu'on pourrait croire, from 2010: