Henri-Félix-Emmanuel Philippoteaux: The Battle of Fontenoy
Felix Philippoteaux (1815-1884) was born in Paris where he trained with Léon Coignet (1794-1880). He soon specialised in history and portrait paintings and started exhibiting at the Salon in 1833. He also produced battle scenes, some of them in a panorama format with the assistance of his son Paul Dominique Philippoteaux (1846-1876), who would be at the forefront of a new generation of panorama painters. Félix Philippoteaux was awarded the Légion d’honneur in 1846.
This painting is a fine example of Félix Philippoteaux’ battle scenes, a genre in which he specialised with success. It shows the Battle of Fontenoy during the Austrian Succession War between the British, Hanoverians, Austrian and Dutch and the French, which took place on the 11th June 1745 and more specifically Lord Charles Hay of the First Foot Guards challenging the Gardes Francaises. This very accurate representation of warfare tends to re-create the past, drawing upon 17th-century Dutch examples such as Philips Wouverman (1619-1668) and differs from the 19th-century Realist interpretation of the subject. [Victoria and Albert Museum]