The Young Duke

LL 3612


This is an imaginary scene set in France during the reign of Louis XIV. Guests at a banquet celebrate the young duke's coming of age by drinking to his health. Reconstructions of 18th-century leisured social life, sometimes without a precise literary or historical source as here, were popular in late 19th-century Britain and France. However, Orchardson's rendering is unusually critical of the customs and manners he is describing. Most contemporary critics ignored this and instead emphasised his technical skill in painting the flowers and tableware in the lower half of the picture.