J.F. Struensee, 1824
Portrait of Count J.F. Struensee. Copy by Hans Hansen, 1824, of original by Jens Juel. Being the private physician of the mentally unstable Christian VII, the Holsteinian J.F. Struensee took advantage of this prominent and close position to the king. Using the king as his puppet he tried to instigate comprehensive reforms based on the enlightenment ideals of the day. Struensee was removed from all power, however, and sentenced to death in 1772, and subsequently beheaded. He is also thought to have been the father of Princess Louise Augusta, as he had an affair with the Queen.
In this portrait Princess Louise Augusta wears a brown dress with lace pleats along the square neckline and on the sleeves. She is decorated with Christian VII’s order, consisting of brilliants on a blue ribbon with silver and a red edge. The flowers are typical of the age’s focus on all things natural, and exemplifies that Jens Juel’s work in the portrait genre also reflected the evolution of society. His earliest portraits were partly characterised by the opulence of the rococo, while his later work distances itself from it, and the portraits become gradually more naturalistic. Juel was influenced by a bourgeois realism which was, however, adapted and toned down in step with his circle of customers being widened to society’s upper echelons.
Frederik VI, 1781
Frederik VI as Crown Prince, portrayed by Jens Juel. Frederik wears a green jacket with gold embroidery, a lace shirt frill, a low powdered wig tied at the neck with a black ribbon, and holds a black hat under his left arm. The portrait is one of the many Jens Juel made of the royal family. The majority of the thousand portraits he produced stem from after 1780, and the portraits at Rosenborg can also be dated to this period. Jens Juel’s early clients were the bourgeoisie, but once he attained greater recognition for his work the circle of customers widened and came to consist primarily of the nobility and the royal family.