Fabre was a pupil at Jacques-Louis David's studio in Paris before moving to Italy; he first concentrated on paintings of historic scenes, then later on portraits, for which he became well-known in Florence to foreign visitors, especially the English. It is thought that the sitter of this portrait is French, as Fabre spent the winter of 1809-10 in Paris. The painting hangs in the National Gallery of Scotland next to a portrait of the Countess of Elgin by Francois Gerard (1770-1837), also a pupil and later an assistant of David, and other paintings by contemporary French artists.
The NACF, an art charity with a growing membership, is holding a series of weekly lectures this autumn, at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington, London. The first lecture, 'The Early Medici as Collectors of Art', will be given by Francis Ames-Lewis, a lecturer at Birkbeck College, on Tuesday 6 October, at 6pm. Succeeding lectures will include: 'A Taste for the New: the early Impressionist collectors'; 'Peggy Guggenheim'; 'Isabella d'Este, 'The Tenth Muse' '; 'Catherine the Great: a gluttony for collecting'; and 'Adorning the Corridors of Power: Philip IV and the royal collection'.
For further information, tickets and prices, contact: National Art Collections Fund, 20 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JX, telephone 071-821 0404.