Princess Maria Clotilde of Savoy


Maria Clotilde of Savoy (1843–1911) was the wife of Napoléon-Joseph-Charles-Paul Bonaparte (1822–91), nephew of French emperor Napoléon I. Born in Turin, she was the first child of Victor Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia, and Adelaide of Austria. Prince Napoléon participated in French politics both as an elected official in the republican order and as a member of a family with claims to the French throne. Maria Clotilde was a pious and modest woman who often disapproved of her husband’s excesses. The couple had two sons, Victor-Napoléon-Jérôme-Frédéric (1862–1926) and Louis (1864–1932), and a daughter, Maria Letizia (1866–1926). The couple traveled to the United States in 1861, which is most likely when this photograph was taken. The image is from an album of mostly Civil War-era portraits by the famous American photographer Matthew Brady (circa 1823‒96) that belonged to Emperor Pedro II of Brazil (1825‒91), a collector of photography as well as a photographer himself. The album was a gift to the emperor from Edward Anthony (1818‒88), another early American photographer who, in partnership with his brother, owned a company that in the 1850s became the leading seller of photographic supplies in the United States. Dom Pedro may have acquired the album during a trip to the United States in 1876 when he, along with President Ulysses S. Grant, opened the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Brady was born in upstate New York, the son of immigrants from Ireland. Best known for his photographs documenting the battles of the American Civil War, he began his career in 1844 when he opened a daguerreotype portrait studio at the corner of Broadway and Fulton Streets in New York City. Over the course of the next several decades, Brady produced portraits of leading American public figures, many of which were published as engravings in magazines and newspapers. In 1858 he opened a branch in Washington, DC. The album, which also contains a small number of non-photographic prints, is part of the Thereza Christina Maria Collection at the National Library of Brazil. The collection is composed of 21,742 photos assembled by Emperor Pedro II throughout his life and donated by him to the national library. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects. It documents the achievements of Brazil and Brazilians in the 19th century and also includes many photographs of Europe, Africa, and North America.

Last updated: March 22, 2016