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George Theodore Berthon

BERTHON GEORGE THEODORE Portrait Of Lieutenant Colonel George Taylor Denison Ii

Joyner /May 27, 2011
21,740.70 - 28,987.60
30,504.89

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Artworks in Arcadja
6

Some works of George Theodore Berthon

Extracted between 6 works in the catalog of Arcadja
George Theodore Berthon - Portrait Of A Young Lady

George Theodore Berthon - Portrait Of A Young Lady

Original 1845
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 53
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
GEORGE THÉODORE BERTHON, R.C.A.
PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG LADY (ALSO KNOWN AS MRS. JOHN BEVERLEY ROBINSON, 1845)
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1845
23 ins x 17.25 ins; 58.4 cms x 43.8 cms
Provenance:
G. Blair Laing Limited, Toronto
The Loeb Collection, Aylmer, Quebec
Private Collection, Montreal
George Theodore Berthon - Portrait Of James Lancaster

George Theodore Berthon - Portrait Of James Lancaster

Original 1844
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 15
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
GEORGE THEODORE BERTHON
PORTRAIT OF JAMES LANCASTER
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1844
24 ins x 18 ins; 61 cms x 45.7 cms
Provenance:
Private Collection, United Kingdom
Note:
George Theodore Berthon was one of the first and most accomplished portrait painters in mid 19
century Canada. His father, Rene Theodore Berthon was a court painter to Napoleon Bonaparte and his artistic skills were honed in the studio of the foremost French Neoclassical master, Jacques Louis David. These painterly practises the elder Berthon passed on to his son.
George Theodore furthered his study of portraiture when he emigrated from Paris to England in 1827. The majority of his fourteen year stay in London was devoted to developing a less elevated style of portrait, one that was steeped in the tradition of Sir Anthony van Dyck and culminated in the elegant 18
th
century portraits of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Thomas Lawrence. He began exhibiting portraits with the prestigious Royal Academy in 1835.
The date of 1844 ascribed by the artist confirms that indeed it was executed during his stay in England. Berthon painted this full-length elegant portrait of a gentleman in riding livery with top hat in hand. While the identity of Berthon\’\’s subject is limited in this case to a name, James Lancaster, we can deduce that his status is one of a \“country gentleman\”. Berthon depicts him standing comfortably in what presumably is his country estate and property.
Berthon applied his European aesthetic training and his admiration of British portraiture to creating imposing portraits of the more prominent members of Canadian society. He quickly established himself as the celebrated \“court painter\” of Upper Canada – Ontario – where he lived and worked in Toronto for some fifty years, 1845-1891. His portraits of the city\’\’s more prominent citizens allow us to have a visual history of the ruling Family Compact, including judges, chief justices, lieutenant governors, physicians, religious leaders and high-ranking military and naval officers. Berthon\’\’s most important commissions were the portraits he created for the Law Society of Upper Canada – still on view at Osgoode Hall.
George Theodore Berthon - Portrait Of Lieutenant-colonel George Taylor Denison I

George Theodore Berthon - Portrait Of Lieutenant-colonel George Taylor Denison I

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 60
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
LOT 60

GEORGE THEODORE BERTHON, O.S.A., R.C.A.
PORTRAIT OF LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GEORGE TAYLOR DENISON I,
oil on canvas

36" x 28"; 90 cm x 70 cm
Auction

Provenance:
George Taylor Denison I.
George Taylor Denison II.
George Taylor Denison III.
Garnet Wolseley Denison, Toronto.
Edward Wolseley Denison, England.
By descent to the present owner, England.

Literature:
William Colgate, Canadian Art, Its Origin and Development, Toronto, 1967, pages 13-17, for an extensive account of Berthon's work.

Colonel George Taylor Denison of Bellevue (1783-1853) set the standard for loyalism, military involvement, procreative energy and worldly success that succeeding generations of Denisons would aspire to.

His exploits in the War of 1812 and his founding, financing and commanding of York\\’\\’\\’\\’s first cavalry unit in the 1820s led to his promotion to the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of the First West York Battalion in 1838 and, after the Militia Act of 1846, to the command of the 4th Battalion of Toronto Militia, which he held until his death. In this portrait, Berthon has depicted Denison in the uniform of the York Dragoons of the 1820s.

By that stage of his life, property through his marriage to Esther Lippincott, receipt of the bulk of his father\\’\\’\\’\\’s estate, and his own astute business dealings had brought under his control vast land holdings in York and neighbouring districts occupied by more than a hundred tenant farmers. Bellevue, his Georgian manor, complete with farmland, a horse farm and orchard, sat on a sizable portion of the 556 acres of the town of York he eventually owned.

An original member of the Family Compact, Denison was appointed one of four magistrates superintending local civil administration prior to Toronto\\’\\’\\’\\’s incorporation in 1834, and afterward was alderman for St. Patrick\\’\\’\\’\\’s ward for ten years. His support of the Anglican Church culminated in the endowment of St. John\\’\\’\\’\\’s-on-the-Humber whose exclusive graveyard is by now the last resting place of hundreds of Denison family members.

Described by a contemporary as a \\“bluff, hale, strongly built man,\\” Denison married four times and fathered thirteen children, outliving three of his wives and six of his offspring. The surviving sons were trained as lawyers or for military careers and all his children were imbued with a strong sense of their loyalist heritage and the obligations they must assume as leading citizens of the community.

At his death in 1853, George Denison of Bellevue was one of the wealthiest men in Toronto, leaving an estate valued at more than £200,000.

We would like to thank freelance historian, Jon Reid, for contributing the foregoing essay.
George Theodore Berthon - Portrait Of Lieutenant Colonel George Taylor Denison Ii

George Theodore Berthon - Portrait Of Lieutenant Colonel George Taylor Denison Ii

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 55
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
GEORGE THEODORE BERTHON, O.S.A., R.C.A.
PORTRAIT OF LIEUTENANT COLONEL GEORGE TAYLOR DENISON II,
oil oncard, laid down on board, signed
22" x 16"; 55 cm x 115 cm
Provenance:
Private Collection, Massachusetts.
Literature:
William Colgate, Canadian Art, Its Origin and Development, Toronto,1967, pages 13-17, for an extensive account of Berthon\’\’\’\’swork.
Joyner Canadian Fine Art, auction, Toronto, June 1st 2010, lot 149,for a portrait of Colonel Jeremiah Wilkes Dewson, father-in-law ofColonel George Taylor Denison II who commissioned the portrait ofCol. Dewson.
Painted circa 1853-56.
Col. Denison (1816-1873) was born in Toronto and educated at UpperCanada College, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1840.Denison was a prominent lawyer, soldier and entrepreneur. Marriedto Mary Anne Dewson in 1839, the Denisons built Rusholme onproperty given by Col. Denison\’\’\’\’s father, the fields and orchardsof which became a model of productive, scientific farming. TheDenisons lived the life of country squires and Rusholme became acentre of social life with balls and soirees and was visited by anumber of royal and military personalities.
It was as a soldier, however, that Denison spent a large part ofhis life. This portrait depicts Denison in the uniform of hisregiment, the York Light Dragoons (now known as the GovernorGeneral\’\’\’\’s Bodyguard) which he was appointed to command in 1846.Previously, he had commanded the Queen\’\’\’\’s Light Dragoons during therebellion of 1837. In 1848, Denison was promoted to captain and in1850 to Brevet-Major. By 1853, now a Lieutenant Colonel, Denisonwas Commanding Officer of the York Dragoons. In 1856, he formed thefirst Artillery Battery for Toronto and was temporarily the CO forthe Queen\’\’\’\’s Own Rifles in 1860. The same year he was appointedColonel Commandant of Toronto Militia (District 10) and, finally,in 1866 commanded the Toronto Garrison during the FenianRaids.
In this portrait the gilt rank device of a crown is visible on theepaulettes of Denison\’\’\’\’s York Light Dragoons uniform signifying therank of Lieut. Col. which he reached in 1853. He would have worn adifferent uniform after 1856 when he was associated with theArtillery Battery, thus allowing the painting to be dated circa1853-56. A larger version of Berthon\’\’\’\’s portrait of Denison is inthe possession of the Governor General\’\’\’\’s Bodyguard. Colgate notesthat Berthon \“...was entrusted with commissions by several notablemilitary officers living in Toronto, amongthem...Lieutenant-Colonels R.I. Denison and George T. Denison.\”
George Theodore Berthon - Portrait Of Lieutenant-colonel George Taylor Denison Ii

George Theodore Berthon - Portrait Of Lieutenant-colonel George Taylor Denison Ii

Original -
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 61
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
LOT 61

GEORGE THEODORE BERTHON, O.S.A., R.C.A.
PORTRAIT OF LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GEORGE TAYLOR DENISON II,
oil on canvas, signed

36" x 28"; 90 cm x 70 cm
Auction

Provenance:
George Taylor Denison II.
George Taylor Denison III.
Garnet Wolseley Denison, Toronto.
Edward Wolseley Denison, England.
By descent to the present owner, England.

Literature:
Liz Lundell, The Estates of Old Toronto, Erin, Ontario, 1997, pages 44-45, for a discussion of the Rusholme property.
Joyner Canadian Fine Art, auction, Toronto, May 27th, 2011, lot 55, for a smaller portrait of George Taylor Denison II.

A third-generation Upper Canadian to the manor born, Colonel George Taylor Denison of Rusholme (1816-1873) assumed the family's mantle of success by becoming a prominent Toronto lawyer, landowner, alderman, soldier and entrepreneur. Like his father and grandfather before him, land was the basis of his wealth, his interests ranging from scientific farm production and urban property development, to municipal contracting and expansion of the local militia.

At Rusholme, the mansion he built in West Toronto in 1839, Denison and his wife Mary Anne Dewson led the life of country gentry, raising nine children in privileged surroundings that also became a centre of social life for Toronto's elite and, on occasion, visiting royalty: a Rusholme ball held in September 1860 was in honour of the Prince of Wales, with whom the Denisons' daughter Lilla waltzed the night away.

It was as a soldier, however, that Denison spent a large part of his life. This portrait depicts him in the uniform of his regiment, the York Light Dragoons (now the Governor-General\\’\\’\\’\\’s Horse Guard), which he was appointed to command in 1846 and whose entire upkeep he funded out his personal fortune. In 1856, Denison formed the Toronto Field Battery and in 1860, the Queen\\’\\’\\’\\’s Own Rifles. That same year he was appointed Colonel Commandant of Toronto Militia (District 10) and in 1866 commanded the Toronto Garrison during the Fenian Raids.


In this portrait the gilt rank device of a crown is visible on the epaulettes of Denison\\’\\’\\’\\’s York Light Dragoons uniform, signifying the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, which he reached in 1853. He would have worn a different uniform after 1856 when he was associated with the Artillery Battery, thus dating the painting circa 1853-56.

Another version of Berthon\\’\\’\\’\\’s portrait of Denison is in the possession of today's Governor-General\\’\\’\\’\\’s Horse Guards Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment, a unit appropriately headquartered at the Lieutenant-Colonel George Taylor Denison III Armoury, Toronto.

We would like to thank freelance historian, Jon Reid, for contributing the foregoing essay.
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