An Allegorical Portrait of a French Naval Officer

An Allegorical Portrait of a French Naval Officer
Emily Parsons
Deputy Director and Curator
October 31, 2023

Deputy Director and Curator Emily Parsons discusses an allegorical portrait from our museum collections. Completed in 1783 by Parisian artist Nicolas René Jollain, the painting depicts Thomas François Lenormand de Victot, a fallen French naval officer from the Revolutionary War. Lenormand de Victot had been serving in the French navy for twenty years by 1778, when he departed for the American war. Four years later, he succumbed to disease on April 10, 1782, a day before French admiral de Grasse’s fleet set sail from Martinique and were subsequently defeated at the Battle of the Saintes. The painting memorializes one of the thousands of French soldiers and sailors who sacrificed their lives in the fight for American independence.