Probably passed by descent from the sitter to the Comte de Tournon, Château de Montmelas; Comte de Chabannes Lapalisse, Château de Montmelas [see note 1]. Arthur Veil-Picard, Paris. 1930, Wildenstein and Co., New York; February 14, 1930, sold by Wildenstein to Forsyth Wickes (b. 1876 - d. 1964), Boston and Newport, RI; 1965, bequest of Forsyth Wickes to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 8, 1969) NOTES:  This information was provided by Wildenstein (also see "Exposition de l'Art Français au XVIIIe siècle," Palais de Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, August 25 - October 6, 1935, cat. no. 58). A photograph that shows the painting hanging in the great lounge of the Château de Montmelas and evidence of the painting's inclusion in an inventory of the Tournon family's collection (kindly provided by Benoît Repellin) confirm this information. The identity of the subject of this portrait has been debated, as a result of what now seems to have been the persistent confusion of two women, Anne Couffier de Romans and Marguerite-Catherine Hainault, both mistresses of Louis XV in the early 1760s. At the time of its sale to Forsyth Wickes in 1930, it was said to depict Mademoiselle de Romans, probably on the basis of the catalogue for a 1910 exhibition, "Maîtres du XVIIIe siècle: Cent portraits de femmes des écoles française et anglaise," in which another painting of the same sitter was presented as Romans. Previously the MFA identified the sitter in its painting as Romans, relying on biographical information and the physical description of her provided by Giacomo Casanova in his memoirs; see Eric M. Zafran, "French Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston," vol. 1 (Boston, 1998), p. 132, cat. no. 56. Today it seems very likely that the sitter was Mademoiselle Hainault, who would become the marquise de Montmelas, and whose family at the Château de Montmelas inherited the painting.
Bequest of Forsyth Wickes—The Forsyth Wickes Collection