Franciscus Melzer, Portrait Of A Boy Holding A Book

Franciscus Melzer, Portrait Of A Boy Holding A Book

An early to mid-19th-century portrait of a young man holding a book by Belgian artist, Franciscus Melzer (b.1808). He’s smartly dressed in a black coat with white shirt, waistcoat and black necktie. While his hair is parted to the side according to the style of the day.

Perhaps the most intriguing element to this portrait is the ornately decorated book that he’s holding in his right hand. It’s beautifully bound and possibly gilded with foliate. Perhaps it’s a significant object relating to the young man’s future profession? Or maybe simply a way of conveying his parents' wealth and status.

Franciscus Melzer was born in Antwerp and primarily painted genre scenes, portraits and still lifes.

The portrait is signed in the lower right and housed within a later frame.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 25” x 29½” / 64cm x 75cm
Year of creation: c. 1830
Provenance: France
Condition: Craquelure throughout. Signs of historic worm in the stretcher. Areas of professional restoration. Later frame with some minor abrasions.
Late frame with wear. Relined.
Artist’s auction highlight: £5,818 achieved for ‘A Sleepy Teacher’ at Sotheby’s in 1989.