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Oil painting - The Young Louis XV at Versailles
  • The Young Louis XV at Versailles
    Philippoteaux, Félix Henri Emmanuel, born 1815 - died 1884
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The Young Louis XV at Versailles

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (painted)

  • Date:

    1870s (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Philippoteaux, Félix Henri Emmanuel, born 1815 - died 1884 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on panel

  • Credit Line:

    Given by F. R. Bryan

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Felix Philippoteaux (1815-1884) was born in Paris where he trained with Léon Coignet (1794-1880). He soon specialised in history and portrait paintings and started exhibiting at the Salon in 1833. He also produced battle scenes, some of them in a panorama format with the assistance of his son Paul Dominique Philippoteaux (1846-1876), who would be at the forefront of a new generation of panorama painters. Félix Philippoteaux was awarded the Légion d'honneur in 1846.

This painting was probably intended as a book illustration and shows the young Louis XV with the Regent, Duke of Orleans, on the staircase of the Ambassadors in Versailles. More famous for his battle scenes and his Orientalist genre paintings, Philippoteaux was also praised as a book illustrator.

Physical description

A group of figures in 17th-century costumes are walking up the stairs in a castle behind a troupe of soldiers and a group of pages who open the way.

Place of Origin

Paris (painted)


1870s (painted)


Philippoteaux, Félix Henri Emmanuel, born 1815 - died 1884 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on panel

Marks and inscriptions

Signed by the artist, lower right


Height: 37.5 cm estimate, Width: 45.7 cm estimate, :

Object history note

Given by F. R. Bryan, 1904

Historical significance: This painting shows the young French King Louis XV at Versailles. Louis became King of France at only five years old when he succeeded his grand-father Louis XIV in 1715. As the new king was too young to rule, his cousin the Duke of Orleans had been appointed Regent by Louis XIV just before his death. It is most likely the Regent that is represented on Louis XV's side while a troupe of soldiers and a group of pages open the way on the staircase of the Ambassadors in Versailles.
This panel was probably made as a book illustration. Philippoteaux supplied indeed several illustrations for the complete edition of Alexandre Dumas' books, one being dedicated to the Regence and Louis XV.

Historical context note

History painting, i.e. depictions of non recurring events based on religious, classical, literary or allegorical sources, particularly developed in Italy during the Renaissance (15th-16th centuries). History painting could include religious themes, or depictions of momentous recent events, but the term was most frequently associated with Classical subject-matter. However a renewed impetus was given to religious subjects after the Council of Trent (1545-63), which stipulated new iconographical programmes. The development of art treatises, in which the compositional rules guiding the art of painting were discussed also notably, influenced the evolution of history painting. From around 1600 history painting's principal rivals: still-life, landscape and genre painting began to emerge as independent collectable genres. Furthermore, the Rococo taste for the ornamental in the early 18th century prioritised the decorative quality of history painting, so that subject matters became more entertaining than exemplary. There was a renewed interest in history painting during the Neo-Classical period after which the taste for such pictures faded towards the end of the 19th century when an innovative approach to the image was led by the Symbolists and was developed further by subsequent schools in the early 20th century.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'The Young Louis XV at Versailles', Félix Henri Emmanuel Philippoteaux, 1870s

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900 . London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, pp. 80-82, cat. no. 178.


Oil paint; Panel


Oil painting




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