Sir Cecil Beaton’s Bust of King Louis Philippe I by J-A Dieudonné

Sir Cecil Beaton’s Bust of King Louis Philippe I by J-A Dieudonné

Code: 11195


H: 46.7cm (18.4")W: 40cm (15.7")D: 17cm (6.7")


A Bust of King Louis Philippe I of France by Jacques-Augustin Dieudonné (1795-1873) Formerly the Property of Sir Cecil Beaton
Patinated plaster or terracotta on a turned wooden socle
French, Circa 1840's

46.7 cm high x 30 cm wide x 17 cm deep

Sir Cecil Beaton, C.B.E. (1904-1980) possibly acquired by him in France (certainly in his ownership before 1948).
His Reddish House sale, Christie's, 9th-10th June 1980, Lot 5.
David Hall, Thirsk, North Yorkshire.
Private Collection, Oxfordshire, U.K.

Lot 5, p.14, Christie's Auction Catalogue, Reddish House, Broadchalke, Wiltshire, 9th-10th June 1980 (where described as a bust of "Charles X" [Not Illustrated])
Illustrated p.245 and p.262 Andrew Ginger, 'Cecil Beaton at Home: An Interior Life', New York, Rizzoli International Publications, 2016

This bust of the 'Citizen King' Louis Philippe 1er of France (1773–1850) was once the property of the legendary decorator, designer, artist and photographer Sir Cecil Beaton. It is almost certainly a cast after an original model by the sculptor Jacques-Augustin Dieudonné (1795-1873). It was possibly acquired by Beaton as a decorative prop during  one of his pre-WWII buying trips to Paris or, perhaps, after the war when he was working on Alexander Korda's productions of "An Ideal Husband" and "Anna Karenina" (starring Vivian Leigh). The bust was certainly in Beaton's possession before 1948 when it appears in one of his very first photographs of Reddish (after his move from Ashcombe House), almost as a kind of household deity - placed on a high vantagepoint ontop of shelving, overseeing renovations to the hallway. The image, pasted into one of his scrapbooks, is entitled beneath "The Hall Under Construction".

By the time the decoration of Reddish was to Beaton's satisfaction, the bust had migrated to his bedroom where it was photographed in 1974, on top of a tall Louis XVI Secrétaire à Abattant, placed between the two north facing windows. It remained in Beaton's bedroom until the time of his death, by which time it had been moved to a bookcase to the left of the fireplace, where it would have been one of the very first and very last things he saw each day. It was photographed in situ there in 1980 by Gary Rogers whilst he was making a final record of the Reddish House interiors (just a few days before Sir Cecil Beaton's contents were dispersed at auction).

We do not know the personal significance of the bust, but the fact it was present from the time of Beaton's earliest days at Reddish and remained to the very end, amongst the most treasured possessions in his bedroom, indicates it was clearly an object held in great affection. It is certainly the sort of item Beaton and his friends coveted. Around the time Cecil made his first trip to America, Rex Whistler (who was among his most intimate confidants) travelled to Paris and "set out to find busts for his studio"[1]. Perhaps this was an item associated with that particular friendship? (Which ended when Rex Whistler was killed in action in 1944.)

The bust was miscatalogued by Christie's in the 1980 auction as a 'bust of Charles X' (the monarch who Louis Philippe replaced following the 'July Revolution' of 1830). The mistake was relatively easy to make as the two Kings were cousins who bore some resemblance to one another (as can be seen from the print of Charles X in the images here).

The bust retains its Christie's 'Cecil Beaton sale' label beneath the socle.

[1] See p.162 Laurence Whistler, "The Laughter and The Urn: The Life of Rex Whistler", London, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1985

We are extremely grateful to Andrew Ginger for his assistance, additional information and images in researching this piece.

Wear commensurate with age. Characterful condition to the surface with a general fine craquelure. Warping to the turned wooden socle, visable to the back.