Sophie Marie Gräfin Voss, 1746

by Antoine Pesne
Schloß Charlottenburg, Berlin

head bodice right sleeve left sleeve


Sophie Marie von Pannwitz:
* 11/3/1729
+ after 1810
daughter of General von Pannwitz; her mother was a friend of Queen Sophie Dorothea. Lady-in-Waiting to the Sophie Dorothea from 1744.

According to the memoirs of a noblewoman of the Prussian court, King Friedrich Wilhem cast an eye on her when she was only 11 and accompanying her mother to a visit with the Queen. When he accosted her later upon meeting her alone, he got a good big slap in the face from her.

Later crown prince August Wilhelm fell in love with her and she with him, but the denied him and fled into marriage with her cousin Voss in 1751. She followed him to Dresden, then Magdeburg. As a widow, she became the leading lady-in-waiting and tutor at the Prussian court.

The painting is rumoured to have been painted at Oranienburg, August Wilhelm's palace, and for him. The dress is the "robe à l'allemande" that noble and court ladies used to wear, consisting of a skirt and a separate boned bodice the tip of which is just visible under the jacket opening. The jacket follows hunting dress tradition, imitating men's justaucorps complete with silver uniform-like trimmings on the front and sleeves.

The imitation of men's dress also includes a gold-trimmed tricorn hat and apparently also a wig with side curls just like a man's. The skirt appears to be embroidered with a floral motif in very pale colours and silver. The silver may be all over the skirt as there are dots and dashes of white everywhere, but the painter did not bother to make it clear. The chemise has unusually long sleeves with a narrow cuff. The blue bow may be made of a ribbon going through the cuff. Instead of engageantes, which would be a bit cumbersome when hunting, there is only a narrow lace frill. BTW, it may look at first glance as if she had put the dead bird on top of her large panier, but she is just leaning to a rock, the jacket basque darped over it to protect the arm from the rough surface.



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