Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle

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Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle
Portrait of Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle
Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle by Moses Haughton, 1848
Born(1778-06-15)15 June 1778
Lille, France
Died14 March 1865(1865-03-14) (aged 86)
London, UK
EducationStudied under Joseph-Benoît Suvée at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris
Known forPainting and portraiture

Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle (1778–1865) was a Franco-English Victorian painter and portraitist, specializing in literary, historical, and religious subjects. For more than a hundred years, he was confused with his son, Henry Joseph Fradelle (1805–1872), who was trained as an artist but had several professions, including infirmary supervisor. It was only in the first decade of the 21st century that this mistake was identified and that biographies, lists, and auction houses gave Fradelle his rightful name.[1]


Fradelle was born in Lille on 15 June 1778.[2] His father was Joseph Guillaume Fradelle, a musician, and his mother was Adelaide Geneviève Valla, both from Paris. Fradelle studied under Joseph-Benoît Suvée at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He left for Italy in 1808 and lived there until 1816. He then moved to London, which became his home, apart from a few years spent in Paris between 1830 and 1837.[3]

Over a period of about 30 years in England, Fradelle exhibited 36 pictures at the British Institution,[4] including The Cloister of the Carthusians at Rome Built by Michael Angelo; The Porch of St. Ambrose at Milan; Chatelar Playing the Lute to Mary Queen of Scots; Belinda at Her Toilette; The Earl of Leicester's Visit to Amy Robsart at Cumnor Place; Ivanhoe, Queen Elizabeth and Lady Paget; Origin of Painting; Souvenirs d'Italie—Il Sospiro, an Italian Dance; and Othello and Desdemona.

Fradelle also exhibited 11 works at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition,[4] including Milton Dictating Paradise Lost to His Daughter, The Death of Adelaide, Othello Relating the Story of His Life to Brabantio and Desdemona, and Olivia and Viola. In addition, he presented works at the Royal Society of British Artists, the Old Water-Colour Society, and the Paris Salon, where he won a medal in 1834. Fradelle also painted and exhibited portraits, such as those of Mrs. Jeffery, Mr. Thomas H. Johnston, and Captain Basset, R.A., as well as miniature portraits like Miss Stephens as Susanna in Marriage of Figaro.

Fradelle died at 36 Weymouth Street, Portland Place, London, on 14 March 1865[5] and is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery. He was 86.


Othello and Desdemona, c. 1827

Fradelle's works were bought by such notables as Lord Holland (Holland House), the Earl of Egremont (Petworth House), Lord Northwick, Wynn Ellis, J. Marshall of Leeds, and the Duke of Leuchtenberg of Munich. The Earl of Leicester's Visit to Amy Robsart at Cumnor Place is exhibited at Petworth House (the preparatory drawing for the latter is in the British Museum, London), and Fradelle's Othello Relating the Story of His Life to Brabantio and Desdemona is now part of the Royal Shakespeare Company Collection in Stratford upon Avon. Drawings by Fradelle can be found at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, France.[6]

Many of Fradelle's works were engraved by artists such as Charles Turner (for example, The Earl of Leicester's Visit to Amy Robsart at Cumnor Place), William Say (Queen Elizabeth and Lady Paget and Belinda at Her Toilette, as well as The Interview Between Lady Jane Grey and Dr. Roger Ascham), R. Smart (Princess Elizabeth at Woodstock), J. Jazet (Chatelar Playing the Lute to Mary Queen of Scots), V. Rogers and A. Duncan (both of whom engraved Mary Queen of Scots and Her Secretary Chatelar), and U. Denis (Belinda at Her Toilette). Some of the engravings can be found at the National Portrait Gallery and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

Manuscript letters by Fradelle to Baron Darnay, Mr and Mrs Ogle, and Mrs Herving are at the Princeton University Library and at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.

In recent years, paintings by Fradelle have been sold by Lawsons (Sydney), Bonhams (London), Ritchies (Toronto), Christies (London) and Bart Wouters Kunsthandel (Brasschaat, Belgium), among others. The paintings concerned are Queen Elizabeth and Lady Paget; Interior Scene Depicting a Shakespearian Man Reciting Poetry to a Lady; Origin of Painting; Milton Dictating Paradise Lost to His Daughter; A Dance in La Campagna; Portrait of a Lady in a Blue Dress Playing the Harp, a Landscape Beyond; and Scene from Othello.


  1. ^ Grosjean, François (2008). "Fradelle: The artist who was given his son's name" (PDF). Art of England. 51: 14–15.
  2. ^ Bénézit, E. (1976). Dictionnaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs. Paris, France: Editions Grund. ISBN 978-2-7000-0149-5.
  3. ^ Wood, C. (1978). The Dictionary of Victorian Painters. Woodbridge, England: Antique Collectors Club. ISBN 978-0-902028-72-2.
  4. ^ a b Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. 2006.
  5. ^ Boase, F. (1965). Modern English Biography (1851-1900). London, England: Cassel. OCLC 222871392.
  6. ^ Ottley, H. (1877). A Biographical and Critical Dictionary of Recent and Living Painters and Engravers. London, England: Georges Bell & Sons. Retrieved 23 October 2011.