Antique Engraving of Madame Gallifett As an Angel, by French Artist Léon Lebègue


This circa 1800s engraving by Léon Lebègue, is entitled "Costume d'ange, porté par Madame la Marquise de Galliffet, aux Tuileries, d'après un croquis original." Translated, this reads, "Angel costume, worn by Madame la Marquise de Galliffet, at the Tuileries, after an original sketch."

The engraving itself measures approximately 10 ¼" x 7 ¼", and the folio measures 15 ½" x 10 ⅞" The engraving is affixed to the folio with a white tape that I've not tried to remove.

Thank you to for the information on the artist, Léon Lebègue:

"Leon Lebègue (1863-1944) began his career in Paris, circa 1885, with Paul Colin, then inspector of Fine Arts. He began in the 1890s to pursue [a] career as an illustrator for satirical newspapers: Sun Sunday, Laughter, La Plume, Le Gaulois, La Vie en Rose, the Latin Quarter, The Patriot Illustrated, Cycle, Modern Review, Grimace, Our Caricatures, The Illustrated National, Gil Blas Illustrated, The French Mail, and The Taste Parisien.

He designed many menus, programs, illustrated cards, book covers, bookplates and many book illustrations: Boitelle, The Substitute, The 25 francs from the top, The Mistress and Other new de Maupassant; Regrets Belle Heaulmière of François Villon; and works of Anatole France, Balzac, Théodore de Banvill, Huysman, Pierre Louys, and Musse. Lebègue is also known for having produced many posters, including that of Salon des Cent in 1895."

Also, thank you to for the information on Madame Galliffet:

"Born Florence Georgina Laffitte in or about 1843, on 26 October 1859 she married General Gaston de Galliffet, marquis de Galliffet.

Madame de Galliffet was a lady-in-waiting to the Empress Eugenie and was considered one of the great beauties of the Second Empire. In 1863 the wife of an American banker, Madame Charles Moulton (née Lillie Greenough) described in a letter the appearance of the marquise at a fancy-dress ball at the Tuileries. Dressed as the Angel Gabriel with enormous wings of real swan's feathers, she was 'most angelic, with her lovely smile and graceful figure.’

In her memoirs My Years in Paris, Princess Metternich described the marquise as 'Madame de Galliffet [...] with her auburn hair, her strange and beautiful eyes - one green and one chestnut brown - of whose lovely teeth it might almost be said that they illuminated her whole face.'

Her husband, a depraved dandy infamous for his womanizing, was an ADC to the Emperor. After Napoléon III went into exile in England, General Galliffet was sent by the Emperor's old opponents Thiers and Favre to crush the rebellion in Paris. During the course of two months' civil war, at the orders of Thiers, he shot 30,000 Communards in summary executions, and sent thousands more to suffer in the penal colonies of New Caledonia.

The Marquise de Galliffet died in 1901. According to an announcement of her death in St James's Gazette (29 March 1901): ' The death is announced in Paris of the Marquise de Galliffet, wife of the ex-Minister of War. Mme Galliffet was grand-niece of the banker M. Jacques and with Mme de Pourtalès was an intimate friend of the Empress Eugénie. She and the Marquis had long lived apart although there had never been a divorce.' According to the London Daily News (2 April 1901) she had been separated from her husband 'for nearly forty years. During the greater part of that time she lived in a pavilion in the garden of her friend, the Princesse de Sagan. [...] Madame de Galliffet was one day seven or eight years ago shocked to see in a mirror how greatly she had aged, and ever since led a retired life.'"

Thank you for looking.

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