Alfred Edward Chalon RA

Portrait Of A Lady

Alfred Edward Chalon RA

Portrait Of A Lady

This charming mid-19th-century watercolour by British artist Alfred Edward Chalon RA (1780-1860) depicts a beautiful young lady wearing a light blue dress with ‘leg-of-mutton’ sleeves.

In the 1830s, fashions were influenced by the exuberance of the Romantic period. Hair was often styled into coils, dresses were voluminous and sleeves were particularly puffed. At the start of the decade, sleeves tended to emphasise the shoulder, while by the end of the decade, the emphasis was lower and towards the elbow (as we see here).

The details of this delicate piece are lost to time, aside from an inscription on the reverse, which simply reads ‘A Chalon’. Alfred Edward Chalon RA was a Swiss-born portraitist and a favourite of Queen Victoria’s. He trained at the Royal Academy in London where he exhibited an astonishing 396 works and became a member. In 1837, a year prior to completing this portrait, he was selected by the Queen to produce hers. The result was such a success, that the head from that piece was reproduced on stamps.

So given that his reputation was growing, the sitter here would certainly have been a lady of considerable means. We also have portraits of ‘mother’ and ‘father’ by the same hand. All three were purchased together.

Signed/dated lower right and held within a later frame. Glazed.

Medium: Watercolour
Overall size: 16” x 18½” / 40cm x 47cm
Year of creation: c. 1838
Labels & Inscriptions: Inscribed on reverse.
Provenance: Private collection, England.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £22,960.

Alfred Edward Chalon

Alfred Edward Chalon

Alfred Edward Chalon RA was a distinguished Swiss-born British portraitist. His works are held in numerous public collections including at the British Museum, V&A, The Met, and the National Portrait Gallery.

Learn more about Alfred Edward Chalon in our directory.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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