This recently acquired miniature of a young lady is signed and dated in red at the lower left: "Maricot 1827".
Miniature portraits by Jean-Alexandre Maricot (aka Jeanne-Alexandre Maricot) (<1785->1840) seem to be uncommon, so much so that Nathalie Lemoine-Bouchard was unfortunately unable to locate a suitable image in time to include in her book about French miniature painters.
Although the French Government owns over 2,000 miniatures, almost all by French artists, there is no example by Maricot.
A kind visitor who is an expert on European miniatures has commented: "Maricot is an extremely rare artist, and he is just as good as Mansion or Aubry, but lesser known due to his rarity. Glowing colours, a brush stroke like in oil painting, a fantastic artist."
The miniature is very large at 185mm x 135mm. As a result of that it has suffered some cracking over the years.
Whilst cracks are generally to be avoided, it is almost impossible to find 18C and 19C miniatures of large dimensions without any evidence of cracking.
For most large miniature portraits depicted in the Louvre Catalogue, cracks can be seen and it seems likely many others will also be cracked, but such cracks not apparent in the printed images.
Thus for a miniature such as this, it seems that any cracks must really be regarded in a similar manner to rim chips on 17C Delft ware. That is, it is an acceptable proof of age.
Schidlof describes miniatures by Maricot as follows:
"The miniatures of Maricot clearly show an influence of Isabey. They have a yellowish colouring with red-brown shadows and a fine, skilful and soft execution. The relief and expression of his miniatures are remarkable. Maricot was a very good miniaturist and some of his works are of great quality".
Maricot exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1808 until 1848. He also painted in oils and watercolour.
The sitter in this miniature is unknown.
The hat she is wearing is very finely painted and could have passed with favourable comment 100 years later, if it had been worn by a fashionable young lady in the 1920's. 1332