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 Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle  (1778 - 1865)



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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/France      Known for: portrait, literary and historical subject paintings

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Milton and his daughters
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle (1778-1865)

Information submitted by Professor François Grosjean, a direct descendant of the artist.

Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle, painter and portraitist, specialized in literary and historical subjects.

For more than a 100 years, Fradelle has mistakenly been given his son's name, Henry Joseph Fradelle. The latter trained as an artist but never reached the notoriety of his father.

Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle was born on June 15, 1778, in Lille, France.   His father was Joseph Guillaume Fradelle, a musician, and his mother Adelaide Geneviève Valla, both originally from Paris.  Fradelle was a student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and is reported to have studied under Suvée.  He left for Italy in 1808 and lived there until 1816.  He then moved to London, England, which became his home apart from a few years spent in Paris between 1830 and 1837.  In London, he lived at various addresses over the years: 4, Nassau Street; 8, Somerset Place; 12, Neuman Street: 50, Upper Marylebone Street, etc. Fradelle and his wife Sarah (1776-1850) had a number of children: Henry Joseph Fradelle (1805-1872), initially a painter but then a clinic supervisor, Charles Fradelle (1811-1846), a professor of languages, Caroline Sarah Louisa Fradelle (1818-1898), and Joseph Fradelle.

Fradelle's move to England in 1816 allowed him to gain a certain notoriety.  Over a period of thirty years or so, he exhibited 36 works at the British Institution 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.  During this same time period, Fradelle exhibited 11 works at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 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.  He also presented works at the Society of British Artists and at the Paris Salon where he won a medal in 1834.  Fradelle also painted and exhibited portraits such Mrs. Jeffery, Mr. Thomas H. Johnston, and Captain Basset, R.A. as well as miniature portraits (e.g. Miss Stephens as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro).

His works were bought by such notables as Lord Holland (Holland House), the Earl of Egremont (Petworth House), Wynn Ellis, J. Marshall of Leeds, and the Duke of Leuchtenberg of  Munich. Currently, 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 at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Museum in Stratford upon Avon.  Drawings by Fradelle can be found at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, France. 

Many of Fradelle's works were engraved by artists such as Charles Turner (e.g. The Earl of Leicester's visit to Amy Robsart at Cumnor Place) , William Say (Queen Elizabeth and Lady Paget, Belinda at her toilet, 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 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 (London), the Courtauld Institute of Art (London), and the Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris). 

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

In recent years, paintings by Fradelle have been sold by Lawsons (Sydney), Bonhams (London), Ritchies (Toronto), Christies (London), Bart Wouters Kunsthandel (Brasschaat, Belgium), etc.  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.

Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle died at 36 Weymouth Street, Portland Place, London, on 14 March 1865, and is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.

Boase, F. (1965).
Modern English Biography (1851-1900). London: Cassel.
Bénézit, E. (1976). Dictionnaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs. Paris: Editions Grund.
Graves, A. (1884). A Dictionary of Artists who have Exhibited Works in the Principal London Exhibitions of Oil Paintings from 1760-1880. London: G. Bell.
Ottley, H. (1877). A Biographical and Critical Dictionary of Recent and Living Painters and Engravers. London: George Bell & Sons.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2006 entry on Fradelle by L. A. Fagan, J-P. Stonard). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. 
Thieme, U. and Becker, F. (1950). Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. 37 v.
Wood, C. (1978). The Dictionary of Victorian Painters. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors Club. 2nd Edition.

as well as family and genealogical information collected by Professor François Grosjean, a direct descendant of the artist.

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