Hippolyte Charles Napoléon Mortier, the Duke of Trévise
As you read this, you will have noticed that we often mention one artist in particular: Hippolyte Charles Napoleon Mortier de Trevise (link in French).
We would like to introduce you to this man's work in more detail, because thanks to his drawings and watercolours, we have iconographic documents that served as a starting point for our project.
The 105 watercolours and drawings of Hippolyte Charles Napoléon Mortier, Marquis, then Duke of Trévise (the third) after the death of his father in 1869, are preserved in the Departmental Archives of Reunion Island, in an attractive cardboard album-file, referenced 40 Fi.
This corpus of productions has been digitised by the Iconothèque Historique de l'Océan Indien, which has graciously made available to the team the drawings that interested us for this sewing and clothing reconstruction project. We would like to thank them very sincerely.
The work of the 3rd Duke of Trévise
In the course of this article we have seen the very privileged position of the Mortier de Trévise family, but also of the de le Coat de Kervéguen family.
At that time, people with such high social status were encouraged to practice an artistic activity (music, poetry, painting, etc.). Given what has been described about the Duke of Treviso, it is not surprising that this man could draw and paint, but the subject of his work differs slightly from what was expected at the time.
Let us take the example of a person with a recognised artistic practice in the family of Le Coat de Kervéguen:
She is the wife of Denis-François le Coat de Kervéguen (link in French), who is none other than the half-brother of Gabriel Le Coat de Kervéguen (link in French) (Emma's father, mentioned earlier in this article, and therefore father-in-law of the Duke of Treviso). Are you all right? Do you still follow?)
Adèle Ferrand is known for her paintings, which you can discover on :
If you take a look at the available works of this lady, you will notice that her sketches and paintings represent scenes with themes that were common at the time, for a person born and living in the bourgeoisie in France. Although she lived on the island of Reunion, she drew very little of her surroundings in her daily life (or perhaps her sketches have unfortunately not reached us...?)
Unlike the Duke of Trévise, who took it upon himself to illustrate people, places, flora, events, etc. during his travels.
These illustrations are of particular interest to us because they allow us to reconstruct the lives of people from less bourgeois backgrounds, of whom we unfortunately have very few iconographic documents. Indeed, taking photographs at the time was reserved for people who could afford it, and paintings or watercolours of the period representing them are quite rare.
We have also found other artists with this vision, which we will gradually introduce to you as we continue our research and reconstructions. In the meantime, I suggest you go and admire the beauty of Reunion Island through the pencil of the Duke of Trévise.