Berthon, George Theodore
Portrait of a Lady
George Theodore Berthon was born in Vienna, Austria to French parents. His father, Rene Theodore, was a portrait painter at the court of Napoleon I, who had studied under Jacques-Louis David. George Theodore would have learned the principles of Neo-Classical painting from his father. In 1827, Berthon left for England where, for a time, he taught French and drawing to the daughters of Sir Robert Peel. During this period he also exhibited his work at the Royal Academy. In 1844, he settled in Toronto and established himself primarily as a painter of portraits. He soon began receiving commissions from prominent Torontonians, including mayor William Henry Boulton. His work combines the linearity of Neo-Classicism with the more romantic English style of portraiture. His eye for rich detail and textures presented his sitters at their elegant best, as they wished to be viewed. The identity of the sitter in Portrait of a Lady has not yet been identified. It is one of a pair of works, thought possibly to represent Mr. and Mrs. John Willoughby Crawford, the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, 1873-1875, or the parents of Mrs. Crawford, Mr. and Mrs. Justice (Levius Peters) Sherwood.