10 September 2011

Marie–Antoinette Thomas and Atelier Verhassel, Brussels

This picture of Marie Antoinette Thomas, (née Goffin), grandmother of Lionel Britton, is not new to this blog as the old girl sent it out to all her children and grandchildren and we have seen many examples.

However, this postcard-sized print is obviously the one received by my grandfather Reginald Percy Leopold Britton, (Bob), and cherished even beyond his death in 1970.

Its importance lies in the fact that on the reverse is the imprint of the studio where the image was produced, so that we now know where Marie went to have her portrait taken.

The address might have been too obscure to be deciphered but for the fact that there is indeed to be found on the internet an Atelier Verhassel at 4 Chaussée de Gand, Bruxelles.

Marie was not necessarily born on Christmas Day 1843, and in fact that would have been unlikely if only because it would have conflicted with census evidence which suggests she was younger. She could have been entering her 80th year, or just have been about 80!

A postcard from as early as 1907 shows very infirm handwriting, but it is unclear whether this was written by Marie or by Samuel Thomas her husband. If Marie wrote all the inscriptions out by hand she was very patient and diligent, and note how the same formula is repeated on front and back of this. A slightly more plausible scenario is that an amuensis, for example a doting niece acting as carer, did all the actual penwork for her.

We would love to hear from anyone who knows stuff about the Atelier Verhassel!

1 comment:

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