Pierre-Louis Pierson Portrait of an old Woman (Circle of Duc d'Aumale, possibly His Wife or Her Mother)
Medium Silver print
Photo Date 1870s Print Date 1930c
Dimensions 14 x 10-7/8 in. (356 x 276 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
In 1844 Pierre-Louis Pierson began operating a studio in Paris that specialized in hand-colored daguerreotypes. In 1855 he entered into a partnership with Léopold Ernest and Louis Frédéric Mayer, who also ran a daguerreotype studio. The Mayers had been named "Photographers of His Majesty the Emperor" by Napoleon III the year before Pierson joined them. Although the studios remained at separate addresses, Pierson and the Mayers began to distribute their images under the joint title "Mayer et Pierson," and together they became the leading society photographers in Paris.
Pierson's 1861 photographs of the family and court of Napoleon III sold very well to the public. Pierson and Léopold Mayer soon opened another studio in Brussels, Belgium, and began photographing other European royalty.
This photograph was actually printed by the Braun studio after one of Pierson's daughters married into the Braun family in 1873 and the two studios united in 1878. Apparently, Pierson gave his negatives as a wedding gift. Most other prints are modern ones from the glass plate negative, tiny cdv's, or ones from the Braun studio like this one. The Braun prints are rare and apparently were made around the 1930s.
Henri Eugène Philippe Louis d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale (January 16, 1822 – May 7, 1897) was a leader of the Orleanists, a political faction in 19th century France associated with constitutional monarchy. He was born in Paris, the fifth son of King Louis-Philippe and Marie Amalie of Bourbon-Sicilies. He used the title duc d'Aumale. He retired from public life in 1883.
At the very young age of 8, he inherited a fortune of 66 million livres (approximately £200 million today), the lands and wealth of his godfather, Louis VI Henri de Bourbon-Condé, the last prince de Condé. Henri also inherited the famous Château de Chantilly, domaines of Saint-Leu, Taverny, Enghien, Montmorency and Mortefontaine. He also gained the Château d'Écouen. At the age of 17 he entered the army with the rank of a captain of infantry.
He distinguished himself during the French invasion of Algeria and, in 1847, he became lieutenant-general and was appointed Governor-General of Algeria, a position he held from September 27, 1847 to February 24, 1848.
In this capacity he received the submission of the emir Abdel Kadir, in December 1847. After the Revolution of 1848, he retired to England and busied himself with historical and military studies, replying in 1861 by a Letter upon History of France to Napoleon III's violent attacks upon the House of Orléans.
On the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, he volunteered for service in the French army but his offer was declined. Elected deputy for the Oise département, he returned to France, and succeeded to the fauteuil of the comte Montalembert in the Académie française. In March 1872 he resumed his place in the army as Général de division and, in 1873, presided over the court martial which condemned Marshal Bazaine to death.
At this time, having been appointed commander of the VII Army Corps at Besançon, he retired from political life and, in 1879, became inspector-general of the army. The act of exception, passed in 1883, deprived all members of families that had reigned in France of their military positions. Consequently, the duc d'Aumale was placed on the unemployed supernumerary list.
Subsequently, in 1886, another law was promulgated which expelled from French territory the heads of former reigning families and provided that, henceforward, all members of those families should be disqualified for any public position or function and election to any public body. The duc d'Aumale protested energetically but was nonetheless expelled.
By his will of the June 3, 1884, however, he had bequeathed to the Institut de France his Chantilly estate, including the Château de Chantilly, with all the art-collection he had collected there, to become a museum. This generosity led the government to withdraw the decree of exile and the duke returned to France in 1889. He died in Lo Zucco, Sicily, and was buried in Dreux, in the chapel of the Orléans.
Chantilly had entirely been rebuilt in 1875–1881 by Henri d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale to the designs of Honore Daumet. The new château met with mixed reviews. Boni de Castellane summed up one line of thought: "What is today styled a marvel is one of the saddest specimens of the architecture of our era — one enters at the second floor and descends to the salons".
The duke was a noted collector of old manuscripts and books. His library remains at Chantilly.
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