Portrait of Le Blanc, Minister of War, three-quarter-length, being served chocolate by a young male servant
inscribed and dated 'LEBLANC M.tre DE LA GUERRE Gd. Clier. DE L'ORDRE Mre DE St. LOUIS AN 1717' (upper right)
oil on canvas
51 1/2 x 38 3/4 in. (128.3 x 98.4 cm.)
Louis Claude Le Blanc, nephew of the marechal de Bezons, was, according to the celebrated court memoirist Saint-Simon, 'very intelligent, capable, enterprising, very charming, also a hard worker and a man who knew the world and who had always known how to please those who had business with him'. Le Blanc had had a successful career in the provinces, rising to the post of intendant of Ypres, in charge of army logistics in 1708. There he had played a large part in the French victory at Denain. In 1714 he had promoted the idea of building a port at Mardyck (near Dunkirk) when Dunkirk's fortifications had been dismantled under the provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht. After his friend and admirer Philippe, duc d'Orleans, was named Regent during the minority of Louis XV, he appointed Le Blanc Secretary of State for War. Le Blanc assumed the post on 24 September 1718 and held it until his dismissal in July 1723, less than six months after the King assumed his full authority. Following his fall, Le Blanc went into exile at his country estate.