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 black dress with white lace collar. She’s probably in mourning.

In the 1840s, the fashionable flourishes of the previous decade were replaced with constraint and modesty. Early Victorian women were expected to present a demure image, one of mild placidity. Complexions were pale and virtues were rigid. In addition, fashions often drew influence from the 16th and 17th centuries, as we see here in the form of a rather tight bodice.

The details of this delicate lady are lost to time, aside from an inscription on the reverse, which simply reads ‘by A Chalon, Mother’. 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, he was selected by the Queen to produce her portrait. The result was such a success, that the head from that piece was reproduced on stamps.

So given his reputation, the sitter here would certainly have been a lady of considerable means. We also have a portrait of ‘father’ by the same hand, which is presumably her husband.

Apparently unsigned and held within a later frame. Glazed.

Medium: Watercolour
Overall size: 18½” x 25” / 47cm x 63cm
Year of creation: c. 1850
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.

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