The Serampore Portrait.  Is it Madam Grand? 

Calcutta, Thacker, Spink, & co., 1903. 

8vo, pp. [2], 15, [1 (blank)], 7, [1 (blank)], with 3 half-tone plates; a very good copy, disbound but retaining the brown printed wrappers.


US $159€146

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First edition of a study probing the identity of a portrait then displayed at the Library of the Baptist Mission College at Serampore, India.  The portrait in question, attributed to the German neo-classical painter Johann Zoffany who was frequently patronised by British royalty and who had a number of commissions in British India, was often thought to depict the titular ‘Madame Grand’ (Catherine Noël Grand, née Werlee, 1762–1834), the daughter of a French colonial officer in what is now Tamil Nadu, India, and later the mistress of Talleyrand. 

In the present survey Henry Elmsley Busteed (1832–1912), long-time medic with the British Army in India who became Surgeon-Major in 1873 and author of the ‘charming’ (Lord Curzon) Echoes of Old Calcutta in 1882, definitively rejects the notion that the subject is Catherine Grand and demonstrates that she is in fact Princess Louisa Augusta of Denmark, granddaughter of Frederick, Prince of Wales, official daughter of Christian VII of Denmark, and true daughter of Christian’s advisor, the progressive physician Johann Friedrich Struensee. 

Two appendices towards the end of the work reprint an article in The Englishman from 1900 – which first voiced doubts about the identity of the painting – and some verses on the subject first published in the Pioneer of March 1886. 

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