Portrait of Queen Louise in a Silk Beret
Oil on canvas. 78 x 60 cm.
In an aedicule frame after a design by K. F. Schinkel.
Queen Louise of Prussia was a star in her era. No other Prussian Queen was so widely revered or frequently portrayed. Her early death at the age of 34 by no means dampened her appeal or quelled the demand for portraits, as these now served to keep her memory alive in cult-like veneration.
King Frederick William III commissioned the painter Wilhelm Ternite with the production of several posthumous portraits in 1810. For these paintings, he dressed mannequins in clothing from the Queen's estate and based his portraits on these (catalogue: Luise. Die Kleider der Königin, 2010, p. 15).
It is not known exactly when this portrait was painted. Ternite carried out a similar work in pastels (now SPSG), which researchers assume was begun whilst the Queen was still alive and completed posthumously (op. cit. p. 100). This painting in oils is thought to be among those commissioned following the Queen's death, which would indicate a date of around 1810/1811.
Like in the pastel portrait, the fashion-conscious Queen is here depicted in her favourite white dress with a low neckline adorned with an embroidered blue scarf, presumably Russian. Whereas in the pastel she wears a white turban, she is here shown in a white beret with three ostrich feathers and a pearl necklace. Also notable in this lot is the aedicule frame after a design by Karl Friedrich Schinkel (cf. cat.: K.F. Schinkel, Schloss Charlottenburg 1981, p. 320/21).