Photos, portraits and maps to accompany your reading of the novel THE TESTAMENT OF SOPHIE DAWES

Sophie Dawes - the surviving images

There are very few surviving images of Sophie Dawes. And these are mostly from the latter half of her life, after she became Baronne de Feuchères and when she was perhaps no longer quite the beauty that first attracted the attention of the Duc de Condé in Regency London. It is almost certain, however, that she would have commissioned one or two formal, full-scale portraits by well-known and accomplished artists. But these were possibly destroyed after her death.

This is a great shame. One longs for a portrait to be unearthed from the accomplished hand of someone like Winterhalter, who painted many of her contemporaries. But, as the novel makes clear, Baronne de Feuchères left behind many enemies. Among these were people in positions of considerable power and influence.
Miniature portrait ...

The miniature of Sophie as a young woman by Haet-Villiers, 1812, is a charming piece that has survived.
miniature painting of young Regency woman, Sophie Dawes
Miniature painting of Sophie Dawes as a young woman

The Hunt at the Ponds ...

The following landscape, entitled ‘The Hunt at the Ponds’ by Adolphe Ladurner, shows Sophie Dawes, Baronne de Feuchères in her prime. She is seen only from a distance, mounted sidesaddle at the conclusion of a stag hunt. (The unfortunate creature being pursued can be seen in the pond to the right). This was painted in 1829, just one year before the Prince de Conde’s death. A period when Sophie was immensely wealthy, influential and at the height of her powers.
painting of19th century hunt gathered at a large pond
The Hunt at the Ponds painting shows Sophie Dawes, as La Baronne de Feucheres, mounted sidesaddle.
black and white detail from painting shows woman mounted on horse, tall riding hat
Detail from the above painting.
19th-century woman side-saddle on horse, watercolour painting
A small watercolour sketch clearly based on the Ponds painting.

Baronne de Feuchères in riding habit

The portrait of Sophie in her riding habit with leg-o'-mutton sleeves and whip is a study in self-confidence and prestige, even if it does verge a little on caricature.
Portrait of aristocratic French woman in riding habit, Sophie Dawes
Baronne de Feucheres, Sophia Dawes, in riding habit - by Alexis Leon Louis Valbrun


The painting by Aimée Brune-Pagès, shows Sophie around the time of the Prince of Conde's controversial death in 1830. Clothed in mourning black with elaborate gold chain as sole adornment, she appears in sorrowful and reflective mood. A little remorseful, too, perhaps - as would have been the intended impression.
portrait of 19th-century French woman, Baronne de Feucheres in black dress, seated
Sophia, Baronne de Feuchères in later life, by Emile Doumet