Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 297

   ‒  
 .
Portrait of Princess Louise Augusta of Denmark
in a Turkish dress
 ⁄ 
(Portræt af prinsesse Louise Augusta i tyrkisk dragt)
Oil on canvas,
in. (
Not signed or inscribed
       :
A Jutland manor house; Bruun Rasmussen, Auction
, lot
, ill.
Ellen Poulsen,
Jens Juel. Katalog
, Copenhagen
, no.
, ill. in:
, Vol.
, p.
Den store danske
uring her lifetime, it was already known that Louise Augusta (
) was not the daughter of the
King of Denmark, Christian VII (
), but a fruit of the liaison between the queen, the English-
born Caroline Mathilde (
) and Johann Friedrich Struensee (
), personal physician to the
king. Nevertheless, she was officially considered a Danish princess from birth. The King’s power was
absolute, but he was neither interested in nor capable of ruling the country, because he suffered from schiz-
ophrenia. He was surrounded by courtiers, advisors and ministers who vied between themselves in their
pursuit of power over him. The King felt insecure, which showed itself in his erratic behavior out in town.
In the hope of mitigating this, his wedding was expedited and carried out in
, and well after a year later,
Caroline Mathilde bore a successor, Frederik (
), the later King Frederik VI.
The King came to know Struensee in
, when he, in his capacity of a physician, was engaged to
escort the King on a several month journey abroad with visits to the French and English court. By listening
to the fantasies of the King and seeking to understand him, Struensee won his trust and was appointed to
a modest position at the Danish court after his return. In
, the King asked Struensee to see to the Queen,
and the two speedily commenced a love affair. Contrary to previous court practice, Struensee, so to speak,
became a part of the family. He dined with, among others, the King and Queen in the evening, and in this
intimate circle outside of the traditional, rigid court etiquette, the King functioned much better than before,
also with regard to ruling the country. Meanwhile, Struensee realized the necessity of securing power so as
not to be cast off himself, and in
, he instituted a so-called cabinet rule, where decisions on matters of
state no longer required the King’s signature. With inspiration from French Enlightenment philosophers, he
hastily initiated a radical reformation, during which the introduction of freedom of press was the most con-
troversial. After a masked ball in January
, Struensee was arrested, and in April convicted and executed
for lèse-Majesté. The miserable queen was exiled and never again saw her children. Thus, Louise Augusta
grew up without her mother, and became closely attached to her brother Frederik. She was painted and
drawn, right from being a newborn. Juel’s first portrait of her is from
(Royal Collection, London) and
he painted her repeatedly since then.
This full-length portrait of the princess in Turkish attire is, according to the biographer of Jens Juel,
Ellen Poulsen, from
, when Louise Augusta was around
years old. It is one of a number of
almost identical paintings in the same size. At masquerades in the European royal houses and on the the-
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