This is a portrait of Stanislaus Ledóchowski painted by the Austro-Italian portrait painter Johann Baptist von Lampi the Elder.
The painter was born in Romeno in Tyrol. He was taught by his father first in Verona and later in Salzburg. In 1773 he went to Trento where he learned to paint portraits both on canvas and in miniature. In 1786 he was appointed by the Emperor Joseph II of Austria to Vienna as a professor at the Viennese Academy. In the same year or just after that, he was invited by Stanilaw II August of Poland to Warsaw. In Warsaw he painted not only the king several times but also people around the court including Ledóchowski. When Poland was divided in 1791, he moved to St Petersburg where he was knighted by Empress Catherine II. He painted her portrait several times and that of others at the court. With this he gained a fortune.
In 1797 he returned to Vienna. He was named honorary citizen of this city in 1799. He retired in 1822 and died in 1830.
Lampi painted this portrait of Stanislaus Ledóchowski while he was in Poland. In addition to a preliminary study now in the Narodowe Museum in Warsaw he made two versions. This and one now in the Russian State Museum in St. Petersburg.
The Ledóchowski family was an Austrian Polish aristocratic family that was very important in Poland in the early eighteenth century. The father of Stanislaw, Franciszek (1728-1783) signed the law in 1764 that chose the last Polish king Stanislaus August Poniatowski. A year later he was appointed royal chamberlain. The Polish biographer Baracz was not positive about Stanislaus. He was, according to him, a waster with illegitimate children. Baracz was probably friends with the children of Antoni, a brother of Stanislaus. these descendants didn't get along with the descendants of Stanislaus and put their (former) uncle in their black books. The Polish biographical dictionary is much nicer for Stanislaus. He was very active, adviser to the police and responsible for keeping track of jewels and silver that had been donated or confiscated from people arrested to finance the uprising and became a member of the temporary advisory board. He was later a deputy member of the Supreme National Council, Rada Najwyższa Narodowa, the central government founded in 1794. When the Russian troops arrived, he was arrested for two days and then released. Warsaw became a duchy in Napoleonic times. After the Austrians were defeated, the Duchy was expanded with Austrian possessions, including possession of the Ledóchowski’s. Stanislaus publicly called for calm after the departure of the Austrians and demanded that Prussian troops leave. In 1812 he participated in the secret negotiations to bring the duchy under the Austrian empire. This failed and poles became a Russian protectorate under Tsar Nicholas.
In 1801 Stanislaus married actress Józefa Truskolaska, but he divorced her a few years later. the biographers disagree as to whether or not he subsequently married Elżbieta Hoffman. With her he had three children: Franciszek, Anna and Marianna, who were therefore illegal according to Baracsz and not according to the Polish biographical dictionary. Stanislaus Ledóchowski died in 1819.
Un ritratttista nell’Europa delle corti Giovanni Battista Lampi 1751-1830, Trento 2001, pp. 54,55
The Ledóchowski Family to the Homeland and God, Historical Museum Warsaw, 2008
Collection Count Andrzej Ciechanowiecki, London
Private collection, Europe