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A Signed Presentation Portrait of  Marshal Ferdinand Foch, 1920
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A Signed Presentation Portrait of Marshal Ferdinand Foch, 1920

Measurements: Overall height: 31cm (12.25in)

£1275

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Quarter length sepia portrait of the Supreme Allied Commander of the First World War in uniform. Signed on the image ‘F. Foch / 16. 2. 20’. Contained in a silver presentation frame with blue morocco easel back by Edwards & Sons, 161 &159 Regent Street, London. Hallmarked London 1919.

Provenance:
Major-General Artus Henri Louis Vicomte de la Panouse (1863-1944)
Military Attaché, French Embassy, London (1914-22).

Marshal Ferdinand Jean Marie Foch (1851-1929) earned a reputation as an aggressive, even reckless commander at the First Battle of the Marne, and in the Flanders, and Artois campaigns of 1914-1916. At the outbreak of war in August 1914, he commanded the French XX Corps in a brief invasion of Germany before withdrawing in the face of a German counter-attack and successfully blocking the Germans short of Nancy. Ordered west to defend Paris, Foch's prestige soared as a result of the victory at the Marne, for which he was widely credited as a chief protagonist while commanding the French Ninth Army. He was then promoted again to Assistant Commander-in-Chief for the Northern Zone, a role which evolved into command of Army Group North, and in which role he was required to cooperate with the British forces at Ypres and the Somme. At the end of 1916, partly owing to the disappointing results of the latter offensive and partly owing to wartime political rivalries, Foch was transferred to Italy.

Foch became the Allied Commander-in-Chief in 1918 and successfully coordinated the French, British, American, and Italian efforts into a coherent whole, deftly handling his strategic reserves. He played a decisive role in halting a renewed German advance on Paris in the SecondBattle of the Marne, after which he was promoted to Marshal of France. On 11 November 1918 Foch accepted the German request for an armistice. He advocated peace terms that would make Germany unable to pose a threat to France ever again. Foch considered the Treaty of Versailles too lenient on Germany and as the Treaty was being signed on 28 June 1919, he declared: "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years". His words proved prophetic: the Second World War started twenty years and 64 days later.

Viscomte de la Panouse (1863-1945) was a long standing Military Attaché at the French Embassy, London. He entered the French Army in 1883 and in 1914 was at the heart of the London diplomatic scene as Europe slid into world war.  He and his wife held an esteemed position in Anglo-French society, and lived for many years in Belgrave Square. In his professional capacity he had interactions with senior military and political figures on both sides of the Channel. According to  to the soldier turned journalist Charles à Court Repington Panouse was temporarily removed from post by President Clemenceau in order to annoy the French Ambassador in London Cambron. In 1922 he invested Chief Scout Baden-Powell with the Legion d’Honneur on behalf of the Third Republic. In 1935 he hosted Neville Chamberlain at the Chateau de Monnaie, near Tournai at the start of the shooting season.
 

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