Henri François RIESENER (Paris, 1767 - 1828)

Portrait said to be of Jenny Hoche, Countess Des Roys (1796-1867), in front of Gaillefontaine Castle

116.5 x 90,5 cm. (45 78 x 35 58 in.)
c. 1820 Oil on canvas

• Belgium, Private Collection

From his marriage in 1794 with Adelaide Dechaux (1778-1859), General Lazare Hoche (1768-1797) had an only daughter, Jenny, born January 15th, 1796, who never knew her father, as he died in Prussia on September 19th, 1797. Napoleon, who took an interest in the children of his battle companions, intended Jenny Hoche for one of Maréchal Lefèvre’s sons. However the young girl preferred Etienne-Annet, the Marquis de Roys (1788-1868) whom she married in 1814. The couple had seven children, of whom only two reached adulthood: Ernest-Gabriel and Amable Claude.

Napoleon gave Hoche’s widow the château de Gaillefontaine (Seine-Maritime), while her son-in-law, the Marquis de Roys, inherited his father’s family château of Avrilly (Allier), an austere medieval building. The castle which can be seen in the middle ground of the picture could be that of Gaillefontaine before the radical transformations in the late 19th century. The medallion which the sitter has slipped into her high sash probably depicts her spouse, unless it is of General Hoche, her father.

This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné on the artist being prepared by Philippe Nusbaumer and Alexis Bordes.

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