Caroline Mathilde, 1771
Caroline Mathilde. Copy of original by Jens Juel from 1771. At the age of 15 Caroline Mathilde was married to her own cousin, King Christian VII of Denmark, and the marriage only resulted in one heir, Frederik VI.
She quickly became isolated in the court, and found no consolation in her schizophrenic and unfaithful husband, which resulted in her affair with J.F. Struense, who is considered to have been the father of princess Louisa Augusta. Because of her adultery with the coup plotter Struense, who was also the personal doctor of the king, she was arrested in 1772, banished to a castle in Celle and the marriage was annulled.
Christian VII, wearing a powdered wig with three puffs and a black ribbon at the neck, observes the viewer in this portrait painted by Jens Juel. The King’s left hand rests on a table, on which a black hat is also placed. He wears a red jacket and a yellow waistcoat with a gold ribbon, and is furthermore decorated with the Order of the Elephant as well as rapier at his side. Placing the king in naturalistic surroundings was typical of Jens Juel’s style, the inspiration for which he had found during a stay in Switzerland. The idea was that the person portrayed should be painted in his or her usual surroundings, and not among lofty clouds, as was characteristic of the rococo.
Portrait of Caroline Mathilde, ca. 1767
This portrait of Caroline Mathilde is from around 1767, and is therefore one of the earliest portraits we have of her. The picture depicts the young queen about a year after she married the Danish king, Christian VII. It therefore portrays her before she began her famous affair with the king’s personal physician JF Struensee. The painting is attributed to the Danish artist Peder Als (1727-1776) who was one of the artists who paved the way for neoclassicism in Danish portraiture. He also painted other royal portraits, not just of Caroline Mathilde, but of the king and the crown prince. The queen is portrayed here with her hair powdered white, and adorned with lace which falls over her right shoulder. She wears an aqua blue dress adorned with lace along the neckline, and bows on the chest and arms. She has adorned her ears and neck with white stones in the form of earrings and an aqua blue necklace. On the left of the queen is a bouquet of white flowers with a light blue bow.
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.