Portrait Of Madame De Genlis (1781). Marie-Victoire Lemoine (1754-1820). Oil on canvas.

The sitter is presumed to be Madame de Genlis (1746-1830), teacher, artist, author, mistress, and governess, one of the more fascinating women of the ancien régime. During the revolution she became a hostess and embraced many of the ideals of the new regime, but was eventually forced into exile. Napoleon later used her as a spy, and she lived long enough to see one of her charges, Louis-Philippe, become King of France.

Les harpistes aka Les Mademoiselles d'Orléans. Jean-Antoine-Théodore Giroust (French, 1753-1817). Oil on canvas.

The girl, age 14, playing the harp is Louise Marie Adélaide Eugènie d'Orléans, the daughter of the Duc d'Orléans. She wears the Phrygian hat, a symbol of the French revolution. The harp teacher is Madame de Genlis, celbrated harpist, writer, educator and governess. Turning the pages is la belle Pamela, Madame de Genlis’ adopted (or possibly actual) daughter.
Traveller of the Week: Stéphanie Félicité du Crest de Saint-Aubin, Comtesse de Genlis, educationalist and writer

Name of traveller: Stéphanie Félicité du Crest de Saint-Aubin, Comtesse de Genlis (1746-1830)
Reason for travel: in exile because of the French Revolution
Dates of travel: 1792

Langollen entouré d’ombrages et de prairies délicieuses, par la fraîcheur de leur verdure, est situé au pied de la montagne des deux amies, qui forme là une majestueuse pyramide couverte d’arbres et de fleurs. (Genlis 347)

Portrait of Mrs. Chinnery (1803). Elisabeth-Louise Vigée-Lebrun (French, 1755–1842). Oil on canvas. Indiana University Art Museum.

The painting marks a connection among three remarkable 18th-century women: the sitter, Margaret Chinnery, a highly cultivated Englishwoman who devoted herself to the arts; the French writer, Madame de Genlis, whose book Mrs. Chinnery reads; and the celebrated Vigée Le Brun, who negotiated her career against the backdrop of the French revolution and its aftermath.