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Title Portrait of Caillaud, the Singer, in Costume for the Opera Le Chasseur et la Laitière
Collection Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Artist Voiroit, Guillaume (French painter, 1713-1799)
Date 1765 (dated)
Signed yes
Description This smiling man holding a gun is the singer Joseph Caillaud (or Caillot), 1732/33-1816, represented in costume for an opera, possibly Le Chasseur et la Laitière (he was given the part in 1763). The man had a beautiful voice and sang in many operas between 1760 and 1771. The painting was exhibited at the 1767 Salon and the review L'Année Littéraire wrote about it that 'les portraits peints par M. Voiriot ont paru plaire, on a reconnu avec satisfaction celui de M. Caillot de la Comédie Italienne.'
Current Accession Number B.M.561
Former Accession Number No. 86; No. 406
Inscription front cr 'Voirot / 1765'
Subject portrait (Caillaud, Joseph)
Measurements 65 x 55.5 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by the founders John and Joséphine Bowes 1885.
Principal Exhibitions Théâtre de Cour. Les spectacles à Fontainebleau au XVIIIe siècle, Musée National du château de Fontainebleau, 2005-2006, cat. no. 90.
Notes This was listed as no. 86 in John Bowes' catalogue, with the title Portrait of Caillaud, a French Singer in the costume of his part in the comic opera §Le Chasseur et la Laitière§, signed Guillaume Voiriot, 1755'. This painting was also listed as no. 406 in the 1877 MSS List. There is en engraving of this portrait at the Cabinet des Estampes of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the work of engraver Simon-Charles Miger, dated 1770 and engraved with the following words: 'Joseph Caillot né à Paris/Lorsqu'on nous traça son image,/Pour y faire passer sa gaiété, sa candeur/On n'a pas consulté seulement son visage,/On a sçu lire dans son coeur.' There is a painting representing Caillot at the Musée Antoine Lécuyer in Saint-Quentin. It is nearly identical to the Bowes' picture and probably by Voiriot too. For more details on Voiriot, see 'Le portrait d'un grand prélat par Guillaume Voiriot nous dévoile un aspect de son oeuvre: les portraits de religieux, Bulletin des Musées de Dijon, July 2001, pp. 22-30. Diderot, who did not like Voiriot, criticised the painting in the following terms: 'Cailleau, assez ressemblant, moins mauvais mais mauvais encore; et quant il serait bon, comme je l'entends dire, ce serait un moment de hasard: l'ode de chapelain, l'épigramme d'un sot, un couplet heureux comme tout le monde en fait un.' (quoted in a letter written by Catherine Voiriot dated 5 January 2002).
Rights Owner The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
Author Dr Maylis Hopewell-Curie

 

 

 

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