To any and all of you who may still be watching these boards,
I recently noticed a painting in which the subject featured a red patch on the left lapel of his tailcoat. I have noticed this in only two paintings previously, and am very curious as to what it may signify. My knowledge of portraits of gentlemen is by no means complete, but the fact that I have only ever seen three examples makes me VERY curious. I love details like this, but would like to know more about what this patch symbolizes before I add it to any of my own pieces.
I did a smidge of research on the three subjects of these paintings, which can be read on my blog, here. .
The paintings are:
Jacques Marquet de Montbreton de Norvins, by Ingres
Charles Joseph Lauren Cordier, by Ingres
Comte (Antoine-Georges-Francois) de Chabaud-Latour and his family, by Jacques-Luc Barbier-Walbonne
Very interesting! I didn't find any definitive links telling what the red patch in the portraits was but I'm wondering if it's not a mark that the men were members of the Légion d'Honneur. I couldn't find any information on one of the gentlemen, but the other two were inducted and, according to Wikipedia, the ribbon bars denoting rank within the membership are red. A possibility, perhaps?
Thanks for the input! Actually, I also posted this question to the Historical Sew-Fortnightly facebook group, and Ann Wass answered my question. You are correct! According to the book, "Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch", by Gary Tinterow and Philip Conisbee, the red ribbon indicates (at least on the painting of Jacques Marquet, Baron de Montbreton de Norvins) that the wearer is a chevalier in the Legion of Honor.
I love details like this, it is so interesting to learn what they mean!