Marie Louise Denys de La Ronde would be depicted here in her forties. Despite the very dark background of the painting, we can clearly discern a few white strands in her hair pulled up in a bun. Her features are regular, even somewhat severe. Her nose is straight. Thin and well cut in an intense dark red, her lips sport a very slight smile. A small rounded fold appears under her lower lip, and her chin has a small dimple. Her deep gaze allows us to see bluish grey eyes with drooping eyelids. She is magnificently dressed. Her clothing, possibly velvet, plum and dark aqua blue in colour, is enhanced by gold edging. Her blouse is decorated with fine lace and a brooch featuring precious stones, primarily red garnet. The sleeves, which come to the bend in the elbows, are adorned with pearls just before the slits, also richly embroidered, which reveal a lighter whitish fabric. The artist, unknown, succeeded, despite a very thin layer of paint pigments, in accurately rendering the smallest details of her clothing and the slightest reflections of her skin.

Marie Louise was the granddaughter of Jacques Leneuf de La Poterie (1604-1687c) through her mother. Jacques came to New France from his native Normandy, in France, in 1636; among other roles, he served as acting governor of Trois-Rivières on several occasions. Marie Louise’s mother was Catherine Leneuf (1640-1697), and her father was Pierre Denys de La Ronde (1631-1708), a prominent merchant and landowner. Marie Louise was the sister of Jacques, whose religious title was Father Joseph Denys, Recollect (1657-1736), and who, as the Immaculate Conception parish priest (1710-1717), had the Trois-Rivières parish church built in 1714.

Marie Louise Denys de La Ronde was born on January 26, 1671, in Quebec City. At the age of sixteen, she married Pierre d’Ailleboust d’Argenteuil in Quebec City in November 1687. She signed “Marie Louise Denis.” The couple had 11 children. She died on November 5, 1747.

The presence of this painting in the family of Mrs. Norman Neilson née Lanaudière, the donor, can be explained by the fact that one of Marie Louise’s sisters, Marguerite Denys de La Ronde, had married Thomas de Lanouguère, the donor’s ancestor, on October 16, 1672. The Lanouguère name became Lanaudière as of the following generation.

This painting, which falls into the category of ancient works of art, was donated to the museum in the early 1940s.

Donation from Alice de Lanaudière Neilson
Musée Pierre-Boucher Collection
1980 9 P