Les Femmes Savantes

Oil Painting
1845 (made)
Les Femmes Savantes thumbnail 1
Les Femmes Savantes thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 122
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Oil paintings such as this with subjects taken from popular literature steadily replaced commissions for history paintings in the early 19th century. The public and most collectors of modern works started to prefer lighter and sometimes more sentimental themes.

Subjects Depicted
Leslie frequently used themes from humorous literature. Here he is illustrating a scene from a play by Molière, Les Femmes Savantes ('The Learned Ladies'), in which the conceited Trissotin reads a pretentious sonnet of his own composition to his admiring audience of literary ladies, the self-styled 'learned ladies' of the title. When this picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1845, it was called A Scene from Molière and several lines from the play were quoted in the catalogue.

People
Although Leslie began his career as a history and portrait painter, he soon turned to literary themes. The collector John Sheepshanks (1787-1863) owned 17 paintings by Leslie with subjects taken from well-known authors such as Shakespeare, Chaucer and Molière.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Oil on canvas, with carved wood and composition frame
Brief Description
Oil painting by Charles Robert Leslie depicting a scene from a play by Molière, Les Femmes Savantes, namely Trissotin reading his sonnet (Act III, Scene 2). Great Britain, 1845.
Physical Description
Oil painting depicting Trissotin reading his sonnet.
Dimensions
  • Height: 99cm
  • Width: 76.1cm
  • Framed height: 136cm
  • Framed width: 105cm
Styles
Gallery Label
British Galleries: This shows a scene from a French play first performed in 1672. The frame was carved with motifs that came into fashion only in 1700. Mixing of historic styles was an accepted part of 19th century French Style.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857
Object history
Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857. Painted in London by Charles Robert Leslie RA (born in London, 1794, died there in 1859); frame maker unidentified
Subject depicted
Literary ReferenceMolière, <i>Les Femmes Savantes</i>
Summary
Object Type
Oil paintings such as this with subjects taken from popular literature steadily replaced commissions for history paintings in the early 19th century. The public and most collectors of modern works started to prefer lighter and sometimes more sentimental themes.

Subjects Depicted
Leslie frequently used themes from humorous literature. Here he is illustrating a scene from a play by Molière, Les Femmes Savantes ('The Learned Ladies'), in which the conceited Trissotin reads a pretentious sonnet of his own composition to his admiring audience of literary ladies, the self-styled 'learned ladies' of the title. When this picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1845, it was called A Scene from Molière and several lines from the play were quoted in the catalogue.

People
Although Leslie began his career as a history and portrait painter, he soon turned to literary themes. The collector John Sheepshanks (1787-1863) owned 17 paintings by Leslie with subjects taken from well-known authors such as Shakespeare, Chaucer and Molière.
Bibliographic Reference
Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 166-67
Collection
Accession Number
FA.117[O]

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 25, 2003
Record URL