Portrait of Joseph Marie Jacquard

Claude Bonnefond

Portrait of Joseph Marie Jacquard, by Francois Lepagnez, after Claude Bonnefond, 1861. Oil on canvas, inscribed bottom left: 'Etude d'apres Jacquard par Bonnefond, copie par Lepagnez'. Jacquard appears head and shoulders, facing front, wearing a dark open coat over a light waistcoat. Warm background.

This portrait formed part of the Bennet Woodcroft Bequest, which was among the founding collections of the Science Museum. Woodcroft had developed a 'National Gallery of Portraits of Inventors, Discoverers and Introducers of the Useful Arts’ combining gifts, loans and purchases of portraits, while acting as the first curator of the Patent Museum.

This is a copy of an original by Claude Bonnefond in the collection of the Académie des Sciences, Belles Lettres et Arts de Lyon. Woodcroft commissioned the copy to be painted in Lyon in July 1861 and received the completed painting in South Kensington on 31 August 1861. The copy artist was Lepagnez, almost definitely Francois Lepagnez (1828-1870).

An engraving, ostensibly of this portrait, was made by Thomas Oldham Barlow and included in the Portfolio of 'Portraits of Inventors of Machines for the Manufacture of Textile Fabrics with Memoirs' published by Thomas Agnew & Sons with an introduction by Woodcroft in 1863 (see 1980-840). Text under the print states it is 'from a copy of the original picture in Lyons, painted by Bonnefond' in Woodcroft's collection. However, the engraving appears to be based on another portrait of Jacquard by Bonnefond, now in the Musée des Tissus, Lyon. Certain differences exist between the two Bonnefond portraits, such as the design of Jacquard’s jacket and the position of his right arm.

In January 1860, Woodcroft asked an associate of his based in Paris, Frederick Tolhausen, to send him a photograph of the Lyon portrait of Jacquard, so this may be what was used in making the engraving. It is also possible that Barlow worked from the full-length engraving after Bonnefond by Victor Vibert (see British Museum, 1867,1012.465). Woodcroft had written to the Vibert family in late 1860 asking for consent to copy the engraving, however it is unknown whether or not consent was provided. It is also possible, but less likely, that the engraving was based on a woven silk copy after Bonnefond that Woodcroft had in his collection. SMG has another version of this woven portrait in its collection (1942-59). The differences in the facial features between the silk copy and the original by Bonnefond, and the congruity between the original and Barlow’s engraving, make it more likely Barlow worked from a photograph or an engraving than from the woven version.


Object Number:
paint and textile
  • visual and verbal communication
  • oil painting - visual work
  • visual and verbal communication
Woodcroft Collection