Continental European before 1800, Scotland: Artists and Subjects 58 Do you recognise the artist's monogram on this painting of fruit?

Fruit on a Salver on a Marble Ledge
Topic: Artist

This painting is signed in monogram, bottom right. Can anyone suggest who 'D. C. G.' might be? The collection has no further information on the artist.

Edward Stone, Entry reviewed by Art UK

58 comments

Roderick Macleod,

No ideas. Other than it, or something similar ('Still life of fruit on silver tray' by 'monogrammist DCG') was auctioned at Stockholms Auktionsverk, Stockholm on 28/4/1987, which might be a clue to provenance (but probably isn't).

Sophie Grillet,

From Wikipedia
Diana Glauber (11 January 1650, Utrecht – c. 1721, Hamburg), was a Dutch Golden Age painter.
According to Houbraken, she was the daughter of the Amsterdam chemist Johann Rudolph Glauber, and the sister of the painters Jan Gotlief and Johannes Glauber.[1] She was good with portraits and historical allegories, but lost her sight and stopped painting.[1] She was still living in Hamburg while Houbraken was writing.[1]

According to the RKD no works are known,[2]

Peter Nahum,

Please let me see a decent image of the initials - many thanks

Osmund Bullock,

Peter, a higher-res image may be forthcoming in due course, but meanwhile I've cropped and manipulated the slightly larger Art UK one to make it a bit clearer (I think). Attached.

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Edward Stone,

We have relayed this request to the collection and will post a higher-resolution detail of the monogram if we are given permission to do so.

Robin Campbell,

While something may come from these local discussions, surely RKD should be consulted, or its retired guru Fred G Meijer?

Edward Stone,

This discussion is now linked to the Continental European before 1800 group.

Barbara Bryant,

Good idea, Jacinto. These do indeed look similar. George Gray (1758-1819) was the son of the Scottish bookbinder and friend of Allen Ramsey, Gilbert Gray. The artist was based in Newcastle and specialised in fruit pieces. More information in the ODNB and here https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/newcastle-historical-account/pp575-590
He did, however, usually sign his name in some form or other, not via a monogram, at least it is not known that he did so.

Martin Hopkinson,

several other still lives by Gray are in collections covered by artuk.org in proposals for discussions , which have not yet been taken up such as Maidstone's Peaches and Grapes,

Over a matter of some years I have identified directly other paintings by him by writing directly to the museums owning them

The Hunterian Art Gallery has a signed and dated 1811 painted by him which was presented in 1811 by a member of the Hedley family , Thomas Hedley. This was one of the first paintings to arrive in the Hunterian's collection after the museum and gallery opened to the public. It had been exhibited at the RA earlier that year

Martin Hopkinson,

I think that the painting under discussion may be by another artist. I have never seen a signature in monogram like this on his work
The silver tray makes me think that the artist was Dutch or Flemish

Marcie Doran,

It is an old discussion but I am hoping that I can help to close it.

This might be by the Dutch artist Barend van der Meer (1659–1702). There are two works by him on Art UK (at Nottingham City Museums and Galleries) (https://tinyurl.com/4tfzh37w): “Fruit Piece with Dragonfly” (1692) and “Fruit Piece with Wine Glass” (1692). They are both “oil on canvas”, unlike this work that is “oil on paper”.

I think that it is not signed “D.C.G.” but “DCC”, one of the Cs being reversed. And, I think that “DCC” is not a monogram but the date in Roman numerals. DCC would be “700” - for the year 1700.

After capturing the images of the three works on my iPad, when I flipped through them I had a difficult time identifying the mystery work because they all looked so similar.

I have attached a composite that compares the marble table of this mystery painting to the one in “Fruit Piece with Dragonfly” (https://tinyurl.com/nbk5xtn8). I think the table is very similar. The note states that the marble table is the same one that appears in “Fruit Piece with Dragonfly” (but it should state that it is the same table as in “Fruit Piece with Wine Glass” (https://tinyurl.com/uxbhsd7y)). The redcurrants in the smaller mystery work are nearly identical to the cherries in the larger work (and, similar redcurrants are shown in “Fruit Piece with Wine Glass”).

The note also states: “A witty addition is the cherry stone on a stalk that is shown at the corner of the table on the right.” In the mystery work, there is a similar ‘witty addition’ located in the same section of the work - one of the raspberries near the right edge of the platter has been stripped of its small fruits, leaving only the receptacle.

Is it possible to find out where the signature of Barend van der Meer was placed on the two works in Nottingham?

Osmund Bullock,

One of the Nottingham van der Meers (https://bit.ly/3zPesAt) has a signature bottom left that is none too clear at this resolution, but looks similar to the cursive one found by Jacinto on Dorotheum. A tweaked detail attached.

I think the date idea is a bit far-fetched, not least because it's hard to escape the conclusion that the right-hand letter is a 'G'. An enlarged & tweaked version of that detail also attached.

Howard Jones,

Could the monogram be read as C G D instead of D C G? The D is clearly the dominant initial, so does it represent the first name or the last?

Alastair Mallia,

Hi. I have a still life with this monogram, pictures attached. I bumped into this thread while searching for more info about it. Perhaps it could help.

Thanks, Alastair. That is indeed very interesting. Almost certainly the same artist, and the more informal composition suggesting that we should be looking for a 19th century artist rather than an earlier one. Could you tell us anything about the history of the painting, i.e. how and where you acquired it. Styloistically, it could easily be British, and so perhaps the discussion coid be included in the British 19th century group. I am inclned to think D.C.G is the likely correct order, it seems to read more naturally that way.

Alastair Mallia,

Andrew, unfortunately I don't have much info. I had bought it from a UK dealer in 2018. It was sold as an 1862 English painting. No info on artist whatsoever.

Marcie Doran,

I have been looking at grapes. Could the artist be Catherine Duchemin (1630–1698)? She signed her work, ‘Nature morte’, with "D.C". The composite is based on an image from the Rmn-GP website. https://tinyurl.com/4mtextkv

Catherine Duchemin married a sculptor named Girardon. Perhaps she later signed works with "C.D.G." The monogram is likely supposed to be read from left to right.

More information about her is in the description for a work on the website of the ART-LOT auction house website. https://tinyurl.com/yc262bat

Alastair, thank you for joining the discussion in January. You say yours was sold as 'an 1862 English painting'. Such specific sale information would most likely be based on a legible date, an inscription on the back, or some form of documentation. We can apparently rule out the first eventuality. Has it got a new backboard or does the back of the picture look old? I suppose there's nothing of interest there? It seems most likely that the dealer obtained it with the 1862 date already established.

Catherine Duchemin is an interesting suggestion. The painting found by Marcie, when brightened up considerably, shows a signature 'D. C' ('Du Chemin'?) quite unlike ours. Attached.

A flower painting attributed to Duchemin (https://issuu.com/artcurialbpt/docs/3254/37) was attributed for the auction house by Claudia Salvi. Her website is unfortunately unavailable but someone with more fluent French than me could contact her on claudia.salvi@wanadoo.fr or 06 76 71 19 41. Contact details from Google's snippets of her unavailable website.

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That's an interesting label, suggesting the picture was publicly exhibited and first purchased as a lottery prize, in the form of a sum to do so up to a given limit, by one of the subscribers to the Art Union of Great Britain.

If, as I assume, that is what the Art Union Journal of 1861, p. 212, calls the recently formed 'National Art Union' there is a brief account of there- but no detailed listing- though someone else may know where such Art Union papers as survive may be (?National Art Library perhaps).

Here's the link to that page:
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112037866164&view=1up&seq=304&skin=2021&q1=Contents

Marcie Doran,

Charles George Danieli (1816–1866) of London?

Baldwin Hamey’s blog ‘London Street Views’ has a great deal of information about him in his post of August 3, 2015. https://londonstreetviews.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/charles-danieli-jeweller/

“In one leaflet Danieli says that he is only working for the trade and in another, smaller, leaflet he advertises himself thus:

Carlo Giorgio Danieli, restorer of old paintings after the Italian method, begs to inform those who possess pictures that have suffered by time or otherwise, that his mode of restoring is entirely different to that in general use in England, and far excels it both by reinstating the picture in its original state, and securing it entirely from injury during the process.

C.G.D. being likewise an Artist understands more perfectly the composition of a picture, and in consequence the exact application of the process of restoring it; which he undertakes to perform in a superior manner, let the glazings and finish be ever so delicate. – At the same time it will be found worthy of notice that the terms are much below the usual charges for restoring in the ordinary way.

This leaflet, dated May 1846, has the hand-written address 50 Upper John Street, Fitzroy Square on it, while another copy, with the same text, but undated, gives 81, Newman Street, Oxford Street.”

There is also information about him on the NPG website that shows information about British picture restorers. https://tinyurl.com/3zy522cm

Osmund Bullock,

You'll need more evidence than a coincidence of initials, Marcie. Just the first eight pages (of 26) covering the Ds in Christopher Wood's 'Victorian Painters' throw up three other artists with the initials 'CGD', and though none looks very promising, all at least are recorded as having exhibited. You'll need to find *at the least* mention of him having painted fruit pieces, and to be at all convincing as an idea one or more works painted by him for comparison.

Marcie Doran,

My first composite shows that all of the elements in the painting owned by Alastair Mallia are in the Art UK work and that no new elements have been introduced to Alastair's painting.

My guess is that the restorer Carlo Giorgio Danieli (or someone else with the initials C.G.D.) had access to a work by Barend van der Meer (1659–1702) or Catherine Duchemin (1630–1698) and faithfully reproduced it and then added his (or her) own initials. Then, that artist created Alastair's painting using the same elements.

The fact that both works show three initials means that the artist was someone who would probably have used all three initials on a Census form. I have attached Danieli's Census entry for 1851 from the Ancestry website. His profession was "artist" and he included his middle initial, despite having an unusual name. He was recorded as "Charles G. Daniely". Recall that Danieli also used his three initials in his leaflet dated May 1846. The year 1851 is significant in our search since Alastair's painting was likely created in 1851 or 1852.

Perhaps more works with the same monogram will come to light. Material related to Danieli is at the National Archives, including this record https://tinyurl.com/2hnxw2ch. I have contacted the owner of the Danieli family tree on Ancestry.

Unfortunately the Art Union of GB gave 200 paintings as prizes in the 29 June 1861 distribution. I suspect a list was never published, but if we found it, the artist could surely be identified.

Not helpful to identifying the artist of Alastair Mallia's fruit piece, but (to quote the NPG's Directory of Artists' Suppliers) the canvas was supplied by:

"Robert Davis, 35 Chenies Mews, Bedford Square, London WC 1857-1870, also 36 Chenies Mews 1861-1870, 10 Huntley St, Tottenham Court Road 1858-1870. Artists’ colourman, subsequently a cab proprietor.

Robert Davis (b. c.1824) would appear to be the individual recorded in the 1851 census as artists' colourman, age 29, at 8 Old Chapel Road, Kentish Town. He was listed in 1857 as artists’ canvas primer and subsequently as artists’ colourman in Chenies Mews and Huntley St. ... By 1871 Davis was listed at 10 Huntley St as a cab proprietor, with his age given as 47 in the 1871 census."

Marcie Doran,

My apologies – Alastair’s piece is dated 1861 not 1851 as I stated above.

Andrew Shore,

How about George Gregor Delotz (1818–1879)? He has quite a few works in the British Museum collection, of various styles and in different mediums (but including still life). He also signs with different signatures, initials and monograms. However, this one on a print looks similar to the painting above: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1924-1014-114

Brief bio (and links to other works) here: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/term/BIOG24948

Osmund Bullock,

Yes, I’m sure it’s him, Andrew. I’ve been working on him for a number of days, and thought someone might pip me at the post! Here’s what I’ve written so far.

I think our painting and Alastair’s are very likely the work of George Gregor Delotz, c.1815-1879 (though the BM and other sources give his birth year as 1819, but I can find no evidence for this).

Some time ago I became puzzled about the odd appearance of the reversed ‘C’ in the monogram. The vertical tail at the end of its upper jaw is unusual – and in fact if you rotate the whole thing through 180 degrees (attached 1), you can see that it looks more like a rotated ‘G’ than a reversed ‘C’. I didn’t think any more about it till the other day when I was looking for more artists with the initials CGD (following Marcie’s suggestion of Danieli) in Christopher Wood's 'Victorian Painters' – as I mentioned, there are several, but none seemed likely. I then came upon an entry for ‘Delotz, G.G.’ that attracted my attention, as he’s recorded there as having exhibited at the RA, BI and SS [SBA] 1848-64 “London views, fruit and flowers”. In the light of that odd first letter, I wondered whether the monogram might in fact read GDG, and could thus be (with the dominant ‘D’ the surname) that of an artist with the initials GGD.

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Osmund Bullock,

Happily for us the BM holds a collection of 101 works by Delotz bought from his son-in-law Joseph Watmore in 1924, though none are oils; all but nine are in fact prints, which according to the BM’s biog he made “... for his own pleasure, which he never exhibited or put up for sale during his life-time.” See https://bit.ly/3ObafPf. A few are flower pieces, and one even includes fruit on a silver dish – but there’s no striking resemblance to our painting: https://bit.ly/3jKIOh6. However the prints contain a variety of different signatures in the plate ranging from his name in script to his three initials in a line...but also quite a number with the initials interlinked in a GDG monogram, the D being larger like ours – but positioned higher than the Gs instead of lower, and with the Gs both facing the same way. They nevertheless have much in common with the one on our work – and if instead of rotating our monogram you invert it, they look even more alike. See attached 2 for some comparisons. Most interesting of all, though, is the monogram on one rather fine flower print where Delotz seems to have been playing with the idea of reversing the direction of the first ‘G’, but got confused and ended up with a reversed ‘D’ as well: https://bit.ly/3M9G5tQ. When flipped to show what he actually engraved on the metal plate, the similarity to our monogram is notable – both overall and in the individual letters. See attached 3.

All this looked promising, and the idea that Delotz tried out various versions of his monogram, settling on a slightly different one for his oils, perfectly plausible - but it's not quite conclusive on its own. Fortunately, though, there is more evidence to support the idea, albeit mainly circumstantial.

Osmund Bullock,

Sorry, much of that duplicates your finds, Andrew...only an awful lot longer! I'll pull the further evidence together overnight.

Osmund Bullock,

According to the 1871 Census, Delotz was born at the Scottish border town of Jedburgh. He also appears in the 1851 Census, but the entries for his street in 1861 are lost (a fate shared with 5% or more that year). Both censuses and his death record suggest he was born c.1815. His Oct 1840 marriage entry at St Luke, Old St (London) shows his father bore the same full name, but I cannot decipher his (the father’s) profession. I can find no trace of either of them in Scottish records – the father may have been an immigrant there from France, where the name is mostly found. Delotz junior was by trade an ‘ornamental painter’ and ‘grainer’ – i.e. a house painter specializing in decorative interior finishes – and he seems to have continued with that as his bread-and-butter throughout his life, despite parallel ventures into fine art. One (1851) directory entry lists him as a picture dealer, but that is never repeated.

Osmund Bullock,

He first appears as an artist – and specifically a copyist – in press reports of him showing copies of recently exhibited old masters at the British Institution as a student or ‘probationer’ in 1847-56. He exhibited four sketches of London views at the RA in 1848 & 1850, and two (one a flower piece) at the SBA in 1862; but the exhibiting that’s most important and relevant to us is that he did in the period 1860-64 at the BI as a selling artist. There is more biographical / family matter besides, including his sad death in Nov 1879 (when he took his own life with a pistol in Greenwich Park); but for the time being I’ll focus on the aspects that support his identification as our artist.

Osmund Bullock,

Five of his six exhibits at the British Institution in 1860-64 were of fruit (the other was a flower piece), and the dates and titles of two are interesting. In 1861 (the year that Alastair’s painting was bought by the Art Union of GB) he showed ‘A study of Fruit’ – and I believe I read in one newspaper report (but must check) that one of the many venues where the Art Union acquired their paintings that year was the BI. And then in 1862 his exhibit was ‘A Plate of Fruit’ – a distinctly possible title for our work, though we’ll never prove it. But perhaps even more interesting is the address from which he exhibited from 1860 to 1863 (and which is confirmed by that given in baptism records for his children in 1861 & 62): 17 Huntley Street. And as Andrew Greg told us a few days ago, the canvas on which Alastair’s picture was painted was supplied by Robert Davis of (inter alia) 10 Huntley St, just a minute’s walk from no.17 – and it is the Huntley St address that appears to be on the back.

I'll post more images of supporting documents and press reports later today.

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Marcie Doran,

The kind owner of the Charles George Danieli family tree on Ancestry responded to my message yesterday. He and his siblings have old Danieli family documents and he has researched his ancestor extensively. His report about Danieli included an image of an unsigned painting that is believed to be by Danieli or his wife. It does not resemble the mystery painting.

According to the document, Graves reported that C.G. Daniel[i] exhibited a work at the RA in 1837. https://tinyurl.com/3wwbtcuz.

Strangely, while the 1837 RA catalogue (https://tinyurl.com/2xtj7f55) shows that 'Wild fowl’ (no. 4) was by G.D.K. Walker, that work is listed beside two artists in the index: G.D.K. Walker of 4, Lower Brunswick Terrace, Barnsbury Road, Islington, and Daniel[i], C.G. of 315 Oxford Street. You may recall that Baldwin Hamey discussed Danieli in his exploration of 315 Oxford Street https://tinyurl.com/bddpaj9z.

The report also showed that Charles George Danieli restored pictures for Queen Victoria in 1853 and 1854.

The report does not provide evidence that would support Danieli as being the mystery artist.

Andrew Shore,

That’s great Osmund! So good to see your extensive research to back up what was just a hunch on my part. I think the father’s occupation is probably “Tanner” on the marriage record, if that’s helpful.

Congratulations to Andrew Shore for his identification of the monogram and to Osmund for his supportive research, which together make George Gregor Delotz a very firm attribution. If Osmund would be willing to put together a biographical note that we could send to the National Trust for Scotland and which could accompany the Art UK record, I would be happy to close the discussion with the appropriate recommendation.

Alastair Mallia,

Congratulations everyone for the extensive and successful research!

Osmund Bullock,

Thanks to you, too, Alastair – it was your painting that revitalised the discussion, and provided us with some very important information.

Andrew, I don’t think I’m really up to the job of writing a succinct précis of Delotz’s biographical material (of which there is plenty more, some of considerable interest, to come). And even if I were, it would be for me a long and hard task that I don’t relish. I write decent enough English, but it tends to be ponderous and prolix – I never went to university, and have no skills in sifting and boiling down what is important, and doing it quickly and efficiently. And since one of the reasons I briefly withdrew from AD was that it was taking up too much of my time, I just don’t want to go there: the research and its writing-up is more than enough. Sorry!

Osmund Bullock,

The Art Union of GB *did* publish a full list of the June 1861 draw pictures - many newspapers mention having received a copy from the promoters, but I've had no luck trying to track one down. However, a few days before ticket sales ceased on the 18th, the Leicester Chronicle listed the titles of about one in six of the 130 or so that came from recognised exhibitions and galleries – see attached; and although Delotz's work is not specifically mentioned, the article confirms that the British Institution was indeed a source for quite a number – fourteen, in fact, which would have been acquired from the BI’s annual winter/spring selling exhibition of works by living British Artists. See https://bit.ly/3Mh7bPL

Osmund Bullock,

The BI also held an annual summer exhibition of old masters lent by their aristocratic members, and after it closed many of these were left in situ by the owners to allow copying by ‘students and probationers’ – not, I think (despite some press accounts), in the sense of being formal students at the Institution, but by respectable younger artists of the metropolis, both serious professionals and some clearly not. These copies were then themselves exhibited at the BI in November, though the show was not open to the general public. It was at three of these (1847-56) that Delotz showed copies which received (fairly) favourable mention by the press, at least compared with what they thought of most of them. I attach a selection. He also showed at the spring selling exhibitions, of course, mainly in the early 1860s – see post 16/04/2022 06:51. It has to be said that our painting is not without significant fault – the fruit itself is pretty good, but the poor perspective of the silver dish’s rim and plinth edges on the left side suggests the artist had no proper training.

Osmund Bullock,

The BM biography of Delotz referenced an article about him by Campbell Dodgson in a 1928 issue of the ‘The Print Collector’s Quarterly’ (Vol. XV/#1). I’ve managed to cheat and reconstruct from a Google Books snippet view the first two pages of this (pp 71 & 73: 72 is just illustrations). See attached. This contains further biographical information recollected by two of his daughters, some of it very significant. However they told Dodgson that “... Delotz was a reticent man, self-absorbed, who told them little about his life and work”, and one must view it through that lens. Like me, they thought he was self-taught, but didn’t really know. His suicide is not mentioned, perhaps understandably, but they could only guess at his marriage year (they were two years out); and I have doubts about the accuracy of some other things...

Osmund Bullock,

The biography seems to be the only source for his birth year being 1819; I can find no other evidence for it, and both censuses (1851 & 71) and his death registration suggest he was actually born c.1815. I wonder whether 1819 was just calculated back from a vague statement that he was ‘about 60’ when he died (as initially reported in the press after his death – see attached). Furthermore, although the sisters were (for reasons that will become apparent) doubtless right about their father being born in Scotland, and his father being a French officer and his mother “a Scotchwoman”, it’s odd that they were no more specific than that – no names or further details, no mention of Jedburgh (as in the 1871 census) or even ‘the Borders’. They clearly knew little about it all, and in fact I very much doubt that his parents were ever married.

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Osmund Bullock,

George Gregor Delotz’s father was, it seems, a French prisoner of war, and his name was actually Grégoire Delotz, a lieutenant of Dragoons in Napoleon's army - or more specifically, that of General Dupont, which was humiliatingly defeated by the Spanish at the Battle of Bailén in Andalusia in July 1808. Delotz was one of 17,000 French taken prisoner by the Spanish after their surrender, but was later transferred with other officers to British custody and sent to England. The POW records (an amazing survival) are quite tricky to interpret, but I’m getting the hang of it and will post more later – especially about his time in Jedburgh.

If Delotz was born to a French-lieutenant father and Scottish mother in Jedburgh, c.1815, one question (to which I have not found an answer) is whether that was a Napoleonic parole town - of which there were about 50 overall throughout the UK. It's an obvious explanation as to why an officer prisoner might have been there or thereabouts at least up to 1814/15.

Osmund Bullock,

Yes, it was, Pieter, but I think only after the invasion panic of 1811 caused the authorities to move the POWs in the south of England further north. Lt Delotz had previously been (from Oct 1810) a parolee at Crediton; but in March 1811 a large number of paroled French officers in Devon & Cornwall were marched to Plymouth and shipped to Leith via Deal on the frigate Romulus, and thence dispersed to various places in the Borders, including Jedburgh. See attached. Delotz had been in British custody - originally imprisoned at Portsmouth - since Oct 1808.

Can't continue with this now, sorry, off to Greece at sparrowfart tomorrow. Will be back in circulation later next week.

Thanks Osmund: no hurry and enjoy your break.

Just as a BTW: now we know that the Art Union bought 14 items at the BI spring show of 1861 for inclusion in its June prize draw that year, Alastair Mallia's painting looks pretty inescapably to be Delotz's ‘A Study of Fruit’ priced at £5 (BI no. 490, Art Union prize no. 156 according to the label still on the back).

It appears to confirm Delotz's apparently general small scale, but could we have the stretcher/ canvas dimensions just to confirm that?

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