An unknown artist and sitter

This miniature portrait is typical of the queries I receive.

It was sent by the owner who asked;
I came across your blog about miniature and would like to share with you my own miniature as enclosed. As far as I know it is a french miniature portrait, Meloche, fabricant de bretelles a Paris, approx 1800. Family heirloom. It was given to me by my german mother who lived from 1918-2010. She told me that the miniature was given to her brother by a count of the family dellascala during WWII. My uncle fell in the war so no further history of the miniature is available. I would be very pleased If you may add any further knowledge.

It is very hard to pick French artists as there were so many of them, so I replied;

Thank you for your image. It certainly looks to be a nice miniature and great that an ancestor remains with you as a family heirloom. I regret that my knowledge of French artists is not good enough to attribute it to an artist, but it is French and will be painted on ivory. Hair and beard styles are very helpful in dating and I would say his long sideburns help date the miniature to c1820. Thus he could have been born about 1790-1800. I agree it is French and his coat looks more like a diplomat, courtier, or public official than an army uniform. Presumably he gained his award at the time of the restoration, after the defeat of Napoleon. I think he is wearing the Legion d'Honneur and it should be possible to pick which level it is at Images for legion d'honneur From that information, it may be possible to determine how he fits into your family tree. I regret I cannot read French, but I think if you can find his name, the website at may have dossiers on all recipients of the award from 1802 onwards. I hope that helps?

That provided a start point for the owner to research and he has replied;
Thank you very much for your information and quick reply. You have been very helpful and I agree with your assumptions. It is much appreciated. Now I will follow your leads with great interest.

Any visitor recognising the artist or the uniform of the sitter is welcome to leave comments for the owner.

1 comment:

Jared Hill said...

I don’t recognise any of the details the owner needs, but I can’t help but admire your knowledge regarding this matter. It’s astonishing how you can know so much just based on small details. Keep up the good work!@european art