Soyer.   Elizabeth Emma [nee Jones]     - Drawn by the artist when she was fifteen
An Original Drawing.
Exquisite black crayon period portrait of older man seated. Wearing a jacket with wide lapels, a waistcoat and a white neck-scarf. Identity of the sitter unknown. Signed by Emma Jones and dated 1828.
Actual Drawings - 7.5"x 9" = 190 x 228mm. Frame - 11.5 "x13" = 292 x 330mm. Sympathetically mounted on a dark green/grey cardboard backing with glass fronted, gold brushed frame. The edges of the paper slightly cracked but altogether nicely aged. Overall a very rare and handsome item.
- Elizabeth Emma Jones was born in London - 1813. In 1836 she married Alexis Benoist Soyer the famous Chef de Cuisine of the Reform Club, Pall Mall, London. She died on the 29th of August, 1842, aged twenty-nine. Miss Emma Jones acquired the rudiments of her vocation under the guidance of Mons. Simonau, a Flemish artist, who subsequently became her step-father. She showed talent from a very young age and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1823, at barely ten years old. This highly accomplished artist focused on portraiture and studies of nature. Her works were popularised through engravings and she went on to exhibit at the Paris Salon from 1840-42. Her reputation in France stood higher than even her native country. She was regarded as unusual and precociously gifted. Her works were admired because they were said to have been marked by great vigour and breadth of light and shadow. This can be seen in the portrait on offer here. Astonishingly, it was completed when she was just fifteen years old and shows a great degree of artistic maturity. The famous portrait of her husband Alexis Soyer wearing his beret, (see below) is a stipple engraving by Henry Bryan Hall originally from a drawing by Emma. It is owned by the National Portrait Gallery. Notwithstanding Madame Soyer's death at such a young age she was a prolific artist who left behind upwards of 400 paintings, which received commendations of the highest character. Soyer's already bright reputation was considerably enhanced by his marriage to Emma. While he was in a meeting in Belguim with the king, Emma became very frightened during a severe thunderstorm and she had a miscarriage and died. Soyer was distraught and never forgave himself for his absence, not even when, in 1850, receiving a letter from Alexis Lemain claiming to be his son - the result of an early liaison in Paris - he accepted paternity. Emma and Soyer are both buried together at Kensal Green cemetery. As of August 2008, Emma and Soyer's impressive but weather-beaten monument has been granted public money for a complete renovation, to be started by the October of that same year. The plot holds four bodies. Besides Alexis and Emma there is Francois Simonau (1859) the artist, mentor and stepfather to Emma mentioned above. Then finally a Lady Watts (1929) who was Francois Simonau's grand niece. Emma (Soyer) Jones's paintings and drawings are very rare and seldom appear at auction or on the market.

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Information

Ephemera category
ref number: 11091