Subject: Princess Maria Karolina, called Charlotta (1697–1740), the middle daughter of the Prince of Oława Jakub Ludwik Sobieski and Hedwig Elisabeth of Neuburg, enraptured with her beauty, refinement, intelligence and temperament. In the course of his chronologically earlier stay in Oława (March 1718) in search for an appropriate wife for The Old Pretender James Edward Stuart, Charles Wogan gave the following description of the princess: “She was a pretty little thing, tall, red-haired and well-shaped; she made use of every opportunity to highlight the charms of her figure. Her witty remarks led to outbursts of laughter of surrounding admirers with whom she flirted passionately”. Despite these virtues, Wogan excluded Karolina from the list of candidates because – as he put it – “she would be too difficult to bear for the Pretender”. Maria Carolina fell in love with Michał Kazimierz Radziwiłł (1702–1762), but their parents didn't accept the marriage with him. Charlotta suffered from extreme depression and initially wanted to hide away in a convent, but Emperor Leopold I Habsburg did not give his permission for such a refuge. Soon an irresistible candidate for husband turned up, namely Frédéric Maurice Prince de Turenne. Karolina Sobieska married him per procura on 23 August 1723 in Nysa. The marriage contracted in the atmosphere of sadness and uncertainty was catastrophically short-lived, and ended only ten days after the formal wedding ceremony held in Strasbourg (4 September 1723) Prince de Turenne suddenly died. The young widow was almost instantly passed on to her dead husband’s brother, Charles Godefroy de la Tour d’Auvergne Prince de Bouillon, because Karolina’s dowry amounting to 550 thousand livres had to remain in the possession of the French family. Her second marriage also proved unsuccessful. After getting divorced, Charlotta settled first in Silesia (not in Oława though) and from November 1735 in her home town of Żółkiew.
Physical Dimensions: w1230 x h1500 mm
Original Title: Portret Marii Karoliny de Bouillon
Rights: Wilanów Palace Museum, Photo: Z. Reszka
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