The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Portrait of the Day: Chevalier d'Eon

Past event archive
30 October 2019, 12:30

Room 12

Free

  • Talks and Lectures

Chevalier d'Eon
by Thomas Stewart, after Jean Laurent Mosnier
1792
NPG 6937

The Chevalier d'Eon was a French soldier, diplomat, spy and fencing demonstrator who lived as a woman from 1777. D'Eon first came to London in 1763 to negotiate the end of the Seven Years War. Rumours that d'Eon was a woman in disguise were encouraged by d'Eon and widely accepted. D'Eon used secret letters to blackmail the French king, Louis XVI, and was paid an income from 1777 on the condition that d'Eon wore women's clothes. From 1785, d'Eon achieved fame in Britain as a celebrity female fencer.

Portrait of the Day talks are given by members of the Gallery's Visitor Services Team and last for up to 30 minutes. Talks are subject to change so please call 0207 306 0055 on the day or check signage in the Gallery.