The Story Of the Beautiful

Liotard, Jean-Étienne

Das Schokoladenmädchen
(La Belle Chocolatière)
1743 - 45
Pastell on parchment,  82,5 x 52,5 cm

Gallery 'Alte Meister', Dresden, Germany

The neatly dressed Chocolate-Girl strikes the viewer with her lovely gracefulness. Her face beams of clean natural beauty. Bearing a small laquer tablet with a glass of water and a cup of hot chocolate she doesn't take notice of the viewer but concentrates on her task.
The picture was painted between 1743 and 1745 at the court of the Austrian Emperess Maria Theresia. At that time the Swiss Artist Jean-Étienne Liotard stayed at Vienna to do portraits of the Emperess and her husband.
Who was the model for the painting of the 'Schokoladenmaedchen' has never been established with certainty. Most propably the picture depicts one of the pretty young ladies maidens at court that impressed the painter with her beauty.
Liotard later sold the picture in Venice to the count Francesco Algarotti, who bought pictures for the collections of kings August III. of Poland  and Friedrich II. of Prussia. That does not indicate that the picture was originally painted on commission for a special customer (a Austrian Prince).
In those days it was common that the court recruted young pretty girls from families of 'lower' nobility to be trained as maidens and companions for the ladies of the 'high' nobility.

"Choice Recipes - by
Walter Baker & Co. Ltd.
Dorchester Mass. USA, 1913."

Very often it is claimed that the person painted was the young Anna Baltauf, daughter of a impoverished knight, Melchior Baltauf, who had possibly been recruted to court as a ladies maiden.
It is said that the young prince von Dietrichstein spied on her beauty there, fell in love and married her to the dismay of the nobility.

The Walter Baker Company describes teh story in it's little recipe-booklet of 1913 as follows:
"...There is a romance connected with the charming Viennese girl who served as the model, which is well worth telling. One of the leading journals of Vienna has thrown some light an the Baltauf, or Baldauf, family to which the subject of Liotard's painting belonged. Anna, or Annerl, as she was called by friends and relatives, was the daughter of Melchior Baltauf, a knight, who was living in Vienna in 1760, when Liotard was in that city making portraits of some members of the Austrian Court. It is not clear whether Anna was earning her living as a chocolate bearer at that time or whether she posed as a society belle in that becoming costume; but, be that as it may, her beauty won the love of a prince of the Empire, whose name, Dietrichstein, is known now only because he married the charming girl who was immortalized by a great artist. The marriage caused a great deal of talk in Austrian society at the time, and many different stories have been told about it. The prejudices of caste have always been very strong in Vienna, and a daughter of a knight, even if well-to-do, was not considered a suitable match for a member of the court. It is said that an the wedding day Anna invited the chocolate bearers with whom she had worked or played, and in "sportive joy at her own elevation" offered her hand to them saying, " Behold! now that I am a princess you may kiss my hand."
She was probably about twenty years of age when the portrait was painted in 1760, and she lived until 1825..."

In the most romantic version the young prince von Dietrichstein enters a quaint Viennes chocolate shop on a wintersday in 1745, curious to find out if that new drink (hot chocolate) tastes really as delicious as was widely told.. 
In the shop he meets the young beauty Anna Baltauf, who works here as a shop girl. He is smitten by the young girls gracefulness and beauty and falls in love with her instantly. So during the following weeks he visits the shop almost daily to be close to his "Annerl" and become more acquainted to her. Finally he asks her to become his wife and marries her within a year against strong objections from the nobility.
As a wedding-present Prince Diertrichstein engaged the painter Jean-Étienne Liotard, who was working at the Viennese court at that time, to paint his bride in the attire in which he had seen her the first time.



Jean-Étienne Liotard
was born in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1702 as son of a French merchant. His father enabled him the training as a miniature- and enamel-painter.
From 1736 Liotard travelled extensively to Rome, Konstantinopel, Vienna, Paris, Netherlands and England.
His remarkable appearance, he wore a long beard and always turkish clothes became his personal 'brand-image'. He painted very naturalistic portraits carried out in the pastel-technique. Because of the accurate depictions of his portraits and propably also because of his very unusual appearance he became soon wellknown and found jobs as portait-painter at courts and cities.
Characteristic for his stile are the naturalistic images and accurate finish of details, the soft modelling of light-dark-contrast and the unusual light backgrounds of his pictures.
When Liotard came to Vienna in 1743 the Emperess allowed the excentric painter to do her portrait. After that of course many other VIPs of those days wanted to follow suit and have there portraits done by Liotard. 

'Portrait of the Emperess Maria Theresia'


Selfportrait 'The Artist With The Long Beart'
um 1749

1746 Liotard moved to Paris and married there. He never gave up his travelling:
1754 he visited London, 1757 he returned to his hometown Geneva. Later more trips visits to Vienna, Paris, England and Geneva followed, where he died 1789.

Even though the beginnings of the story of 'La Belle Chocolatière' remain uncertain (with a fairy-tale flavour), the continuation, that led to the worldwide famousness of the chocolate-girl is well documented:

In the year 1881 Henry L. Pierce, incumbent president of the American Walter Baker Company visited Europe to learn about the European techniques of cocoa production. 
(In those days Walter Baker & Co.Ltd was the absolutely dominating Company in the American cocoa- and chocolate-business).
While visiting Dresden, Gerrmany, he picture of the 'Schokoladen- maedchen' in the Royal galery caught his eye. 
He liked the picture and the romantic story of Anna Baltauf so much, that he decided to make the picture trade-mark for Baker's Cocoa.
He had a copy of the painting done and send to Dorchester where it found a place in his office. 
'La Belle Chocolatière' (the pretty chocolate-girl) became one of the first registered trade-marks in economic history.
Since the 1880s millions of cocoa-tins and advertisements and other articals were printed and sold by the Walter Baker Company and immortalized the image of Anna Baltauf (?) and the memory of her romantic story.

Baker Werbung von Juni 1911
in der Zeitschrift 'Century

The picture on the left showes an interesting version of a Baker's ad. Schokoladenmädchenmotivs zu sehen:
On the bottom left the original trade-mark can be seen. The main motive shows a contemporary American adaption of the chocolate-girl-motive from the year 1911.

  The pictures of ads and tins can be seen in a larger version by clicking o the pictures. 

  All pictures of ads and tins on this pages are
 © Armin Konrad

Many collectors items on Baker's Cocoa and 'La Belle Chocolatière' can be seen on 'Margie's Page' under: 

The success of 'La Belle Chocolatière' as trade-mark of Baker's Cocoa led other cocoa companies to copy the image or to develop own trade-marks or logos that where inspired by the original 'La Belle Chocolatière' and adapted in a distinctive way.

Here are a few examples:

about 1925

about 1910

about 1920

Starting about 1900 the Dutch Droste-tins show the image of a chocolate-serving nurse.  'La Belle Chocolatière' in teh attire of the nurse carries not only the image of youth and gracefulness but also of health. 
The early examples of this design the nurse even has a 'Red Cross' on it's white armlet.

(more on Droste)


Baker also marketed the healthiness of it's cocoa and appealed on the analysis of the famous German chemist Justus von Liebig.
The picture on the right shows the back of a Baker's trading card.
(Double)click on the card for details. 

DeJong from the Netherlands 
shows 'La Belle Chocolatiere' in a traditional costume.

(more on DeJong)


Also VanHouten from the Netherlands
presents 'La Belle Chocolatiere' in a regional traditional costume.

(more on VanHouten)

about 1930-1940



Many more cocoa-producers marketed their products with the picture of a chocalte-girl, from Rueger (Germany) in the ebeginning of the 20th century to Nestlé Kakao (Switzerland) in the 90s.

Rowntree's Cocoa (Great Britain) shows a medival version of 
'La Belle Chocolatiere'.

see also:

Baker's Cocoa


Baker's Choice Recipes