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Lytham St Annes Art Collection
Hyacinthe Rigaud

The Fylde Borough has accumulated quite an art collection, mainly as a result of donations. Here is one of its more prestigious paintings, Portrait of an Artist, attributed to Hyacinthe Rigaud, possibly an 18th century copy.

The Lytham St Annes Art Collection is among the finest town hall collections in the country. In the 1700s, along with many seaside towns, Lytham gained a reputation as a health resort. In the 1840s the railways arrived, thus expanding the area’s connections to the industrial cities of the North West. Lytham St Annes became a prosperous area of the Fylde, with a high percentage of residents being businessmen and merchants from Manchester and Liverpool.

The collection concentrates on Victorian Art of a very high quality, and major historical scenes include The Deathbed of Robert, King of Naples by Alfred Elmore (1815–1881) and A Classical Lake Scene (Carthage) by George Sheffield Junior (1839–1892). The collection’s core is genre scenes including In Disgrace by Charles Burton Barber (1845–1894) and Boys Playing by John Morgan (1823–1886).

In 1930 the collection received its most iconic painting, The Vision of Catherine of Aragon by the Neoclassical German artist Henry Fuseli (1741–1825), which was purchased by Mrs Tiller and donated to the museum by Alderman Dawson in 1950.

Portrait of an Artist,
(attributed to Hyacinthe Rigaud, possibly an 18th century copy)
Oil on canvas, 113.1 x 87.1 cm
Collection: Lytham Art Collection of Fylde Borough Council

The portrait shows a young aristocratic man in his wig and fine clothes. In his right hand he is holding a brush and behind him is an easel with a work in progress. This leads us to believe that he is an artist, and the portrait is similar to others done by Rigaud, showing more the position in society of the person than a psychological portrait.

Portrait of an Artist
Hyacinthe Rigaud Hyacinthe Rigaud
Nationality: French
(b Perpignan, 18 July 1659; d Paris, 29 Dec. 1743)

French portrait painter, the friend and rival of Largillière. He began his career in Montpellier and settled in Paris in 1681. His reputation was established in 1688 with a portrait (now lost) of Monsieur, Louis XIV's brother, and he became the outstanding court painter of the latter part of Louis's reign, retaining his popularity after the king's death. He was less interested in showing individual character than in depicting the rank and condition of the sitter by nobility of attitude and expressiveness of gesture. These qualities are seen most memorably in his celebrated state portrait of Louis XIV (1701, Louvre, Paris), one of the classic images of royal majesty.

Rigaud painted many important figures in the world of art such as the sculptors Desjardins, to whom, as an old friend, he delivered three successive portraits, Girardon and Coysevox; the painters Joseph Parrocel, La Fosse and Mignard; the architects De Cotte, Hardouin-Mansart and Gabriel. He also painted portraits of poets such as La Fontaine or Boileau, as well as religious figures such as the cardinal de Fleury and Bossuet; many influential archbishops and bishops paid large sums of money for a portrait.

Hyacinthe Rigaud on Wikipedia
The Donor
Mr. Alfred Davey
215 Clifton Drive South
Lytham St Annes, Lancs.
date of donation 24 September 1945
Portrait of an Artist,
According to local records the donor was probably:
Mr. Alfred Davey
b. 11 October 1894 in Darwen
d. 24 August  1960 in Preston, Lancs.