HRH Adolphus Frederick,
Duke of Cambridge (1774-1850) (L. 118, L. suppl. 1266), 7th son of
George III of England; by descent to his son, George, Duke of
Cambridge (1819-1904); the sale of George's drawings on November 28,
1904, Sotheby's, London; with E.F. Bonaventure, New York City, until
the 1930's, where purchased by a New York collector; a deceased New
York City estate.
Probably inspired by antique
coins and medals, profile portraits became a well-established tradition in the
eighteenth-century, after Charles-Nicolas Cochin the Younger popularized small
round profiles in the second half of the century. Our drawings are beautiful and rare
examples of Cochin's portrait miniature work. These drawings once belonged to H.R.H. Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge
(1774-1850), 7th son of George III of England. The drawings are probably
related to an engraved series depicting the members of the Société
des Enfants d'Apollon.
comprised one hundred members ("Professors"), of whom half were musicians.
The remainder were artists, men of letters and intellectuals. Cochin was
director of the Société
for one year.
engraving plates remained the property of the Société
until its dissolution during the Revolution. Most of Cochin's medallions
were engraved by Madame Lingée
and Miger en 1780-1.
* * * * *
Cochin the Younger, a
draftsman and critic, was one of the primary tastemakers in France during the
1700s. In addition to creating independent drawings, he produced numerous
designs for paintings and sculptures, and illustrated over two hundred books.
Natural talent and academic training prepared him for success, while the
connections of his parents, both of whom were engravers, insured that he would
achieve a prominent position in the French court. In 1737 Cochin was employed by
an agency of King Louis XV to create commemorative prints for every birth,
marriage, and funeral at court. Following a two-year trip to Italy, he was made
curator of the royal drawings collection, and given lodgings in the Louvre. He
was also the King's administrator of the arts from 1755 until 1770, and was
responsible for assigning pensions, commissions, and placements to artists. He
also established programs for the decoration of the royal chateaux. Cochin
considered himself an educator and in his writing he was especially critical of
the prevailing Rococo style. He advocated technical precision and the skilled
selection of elements from nature.
Cochin was also the faithful friend and biographer (Essai sur la vie de M.
Chardin of 1780) of the great Jean-Baptiste-Siméon