Marble portrait medallion of Camille Marochetti, by her husband Baron Marochetti (1805-1867). 45 x 45 cm. Private Collection. Photograph © copyright, Caroline Hedengren-Dillon, reproduced here with her kind permission. Caption material by Hedengren-Dillon, from "Portrait de Famille." Commentary below, and formatting, by Jacqueline Banerjee. [Click on the image for a larger picture.]
Camille de Maussion was born in 1816, and married Marochetti in 1835. Three of the couple's children survived infancy: a daughter Giovanni (Jeanne) born in 1836, and two sons, Maurizio (Maurice) born in 1837, and Filiberto (Philibert) born in 1838. When living in London, Camille had another son, whose birth was announced in the Times (26 January 1854: 10), but who died early on (see also the commentary on La Bimba Dormiente).
At that time, the Marochettis were neighbours of the Thackerays in Onslow Square, and they seem to have been in touch when in Paris, too. Thus we catch a couple of glimpses of Mme Marochetti in the letters of Thackeray's daughter Anne. In late December 1858, Anne writes to her sister Amy from Paris, "Mme. Marochetti has got her 2 sons at home & looks very happy" (Ritchie 57). On a later occasion, 6 May 1863, Anne writes to Amy from home: "that great bothering Catholic bazaar is going on & we must I suppose go there. Mme Marochetti wrote & begged us & it is a bore" (Ritchie 91). Probably, once her children had grown up, the sculptor's wife involved herself more in such events, and perhaps by now she was quite assertive! She outlived her husband by many years, dying in 1893 (see Ward-Jackson).
Mme Marochetti is a young woman here, her features refined, her hair fashionably but not fussily arranged (cf. a similar though probably later medallion by Baron Triqueti, probably of his own wife). There is nothing either coy or sentimental about the portrait. The Art Journal's obituary of Marochetti praises him for his busts, especially those of women, "which were always refined and elevated in expression, and true to nature" — qualities seen as "a reflex of his own personal character" (34). The same could surely be said of this medallion, and perhaps, from what we can see, of his family life.
- "Family Portrait in 'The Meal at Simon's House'" (English version of Hedengren-Dillon's article)
Hedengren-Dillon, Caroline. "Portrait de Famille: Le Repas chez Simon de Carlo Marochettti dans l'Église de la Madeleine." La Tribune de l'Art. Web. 9 May 2014.
"Obituary: Baron Marochetti." Art-Journal. Vol. VII (1868): 34. Google Books. Web. 9 May 2014.
Ritchie, Anne Thackeray. Journals and Letters, with biographical commentary and notes by Lillian F. Shankman, ed. Abigail Burnham Bloom and John Maynard. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1994. Available on the Open Access initiative. Web. 9 May 2014.
Times Digital Archive. Web. 9 May 2014.
Ward-Jackson, Philip. "(Pietro) Carlo Giovanni Battista Marochetti." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. 9 May 2014.
Last modified 9 May 2014