This is a portrait of Louis Bazalgette which was probably painted in or after 1817.  Or rather, this is a photograph of a photograph of a…. you get the picture.  This accounts for the fact that it is in black and white the definition is very poor.

The photo seems to have been in the possession of my father’s cousin, Tom Norman Bazalgette, whom I remember in my youth as being the family genealogist, a mantle (or a burden) that I later assumed.

Since Louis was a man of considerable wealth, he no doubt had a famous artist paint his portrait, complete with a coat of arms granted the autumn of 1817 by the French genealogist Nicolas Viton de St. Allais (1773-1842).  It therefore follows that because of the fame of the (unknown) artist the picture is somewhere in a private collection.

So the $64,000 question therefore is:  WHERE IS THE ORIGINAL?

I would dearly love to know! 

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6 Responses to HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN?

  1. Charles Bazalgette says:

    It looks as if this picture ought to be earlier than 1817 – after all Louis would have been 67 in that year and in the portrait he looks more like 40-50. His bank records show that he paid a Mr Stubbs ₤108/-/- on 13 Jan 1797 but we have no way to tell if it was George Stubbs. Did he ever paint humans?

  2. Charles Bazalgette says:

    I have sent an enquiry and a copy of the picture to the National Portrait Gallery. Hopefully they can help with the possible artist and even possibly where the portrait is. A long shot.

  3. Charles Bazalgette says:

    It was a long shot. The NPG had no idea.

  4. Charles Bazalgette says:

    I wonder if it was painted in Paris, where Louis was for a time in 1802 during the ‘peace’ of Amiens

  5. Kathryn Kane says:

    I am sure this will only add to the confusion as to the date, but it was very common at that time, when someone was granted a coat of arms, to have them added to portraits which may have been painted years before.Today, we tend to think of a portrait as a one-time event, especially since most of us have our portraits taken by photograph. But our ancestors did not, they saw it more as a record of their life. They often added new details to an existing portrait over time. That was partly due to the cost, in both time and money, of having a new portrait painted, but also, sometimes the sitter liked the existing portrait and saw no reason to have a new one made, just because they had been granted a title or a coat of arms. Instead, they simply had their coat of arms added to the portrait they already had. So, Louis’ portrait may have indeed been painted in Paris and he had the coat of arms added later. If that is the case, it would suggest he liked this portrait and saw no reason to have another painted.I wish you luck in your search and I hope it turns up one day.Regards,Kat

  6. Charles Bazalgette says:

    Thanks for your comment, Kat. I only now saw it. I’m sure you are right in this case, since the portrait is obviously earlier than the arms. It does not surprise me that the arms were added later, since he was pretentious and status-seeling enough to have done that.

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