This portrait of the Empress is a version of the oil painting by Franz Schrotzberg (1811-89), now in the Salzburg Museum, which was completed in 1864 and later engraved by J.Kriehuber (although in the lithograph, the roses to her left are shown in a vase). Caroline Augusta is here shown as a widow, the portrait of her second husband, Francis I, Emperor of Austria, can be seen on her wrist.

Born a Bavarian princess, Caroline Augusta’s mother died when she was four years old and she was raised with her half-siblings from her father’s second marriage to Caroline of Baden. In 1806, Caroline’s father was crowned King of Bavaria, due to an alliance Napoleon Bonaparte. Ever used as bargaining chips at the upper levels of society, her elder sister found herself part of the arrangement between her father and Napoleon and was married his stepson, Eugène de Beauharnais, the son of Josephine. At the age of 16, Caroline also found...

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This portrait of the Empress is a version of the oil painting by Franz Schrotzberg (1811-89), now in the Salzburg Museum, which was completed in 1864 and later engraved by J.Kriehuber (although in the lithograph, the roses to her left are shown in a vase). Caroline Augusta is here shown as a widow, the portrait of her second husband, Francis I, Emperor of Austria, can be seen on her wrist.

Born a Bavarian princess, Caroline Augusta’s mother died when she was four years old and she was raised with her half-siblings from her father’s second marriage to Caroline of Baden. In 1806, Caroline’s father was crowned King of Bavaria, due to an alliance Napoleon Bonaparte. Ever used as bargaining chips at the upper levels of society, her elder sister found herself part of the arrangement between her father and Napoleon and was married his stepson, Eugène de Beauharnais, the son of Josephine. At the age of 16, Caroline also found herself in an arranged marriage, to Prince William of Württemberg. Describing themselves (accurately) as ‘victims of politics’, William largely ignored Caroline. When it was discovered that the marriage was not only unhappy but unconsummated, the couple were allowed an annulment in 1814.

Two years later, Caroline remarried to Francis I, Emperor of Austria. Twenty-four years his junior, Caroline was described by Britain’s ambassador to Austria as looking ‘at least past thirty’ but noted her ‘amiable temper, and manners, and innumerable good qualities’. Certainly, the new empress was a popular figure with the Austrian public, particularly as she poured her energy into philanthropic work. With no children of her own, Caroline particularly adored her husband’s grandson, Napoleon II, known in Austria as ‘Franz’. The boy was only five years old when Caroline joined the Austrian court and she described him as ‘my dear little son’.

Caroline was devastated by both the deaths of Napoleon II (at the age of 21) in 1832 and three years later by the death of her husband. A widow at the age of 43, she is shown in this portrait, almost twenty years later, still in widow’s garb. Caroline became Empress Dowager of Austria and remained close to the Imperial family, dying a day past her 81st birthday in 1873. In 2012, Sotheby’s auctioned the natural pearl brooch that she wears in this portrait.

Emanuel Peter, who painted this miniature, was the pupil of Michael Moritz Daffinger, miniaturist to the nobility of Europe. Working in Vienna from 1830 until the end of his life, Peter produced portrait miniatures of outstanding skill.

Ivory Act: 

This artwork has been registered by Philip Mould and Company as qualifying as exempt from the ivory act. Please contact laura@philipmould.com if you have any further queries.

Ivory registration: PDLQL15B



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500 Years of British Art