Claudine de Begnis (née Ronzi)

1 portrait

Claudine de Begnis (née Ronzi), by Alfred Edward Chalon, circa 1823 - NPG 1328 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Claudine de Begnis (née Ronzi)

by Alfred Edward Chalon
watercolour and pencil, circa 1823
17 1/4 in. x 12 in. (438 mm x 305 mm)
Purchased, 1902
Primary Collection
NPG 1328

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Artistback to top

  • Alfred Edward Chalon (1780-1860), Portrait and subject painter. Artist associated with 179 portraits, Sitter associated with 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

The operatic soprano Giuseppina Ronzi (known as 'Claudine') was born in Milan and married the Italian bass Guiseppe de Begnis in 1816. The couple met in Bologna where they were both performing in Paer's opera Agnese. They came to London in 1821 and made their debut in Rossini's Turco in Italia at the Italian Opera at the King's Theatre. The artist Alfred Chalon was also from the continent. He moved with his family from Switzerland to England in 1789 and enrolled in the Royal Academy Schools in 1797. An accomplished watercolourist, he had a great interest in the theatre, opera and ballet. In this portrait he has depicted Claudine in oriental costume as Fatima in Rossini's opera Pietro L'Eremita of 1823.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D35029: Claudine de Begnis (née Ronzi) (source portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Ormond, Richard, Early Victorian Portraits, 1973, p. 133
  • Rogers, Malcolm, Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, 1993 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 August to 23 October 1994), p. 99
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 170

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Events of 1823back to top

Current affairs

Gaols Act is passed to build new prisons, raise standards in old ones and institute regular inspections. It is prompted by the vigorous campaigning of reformers such as Elizabeth Fry, leader of the Ladies Association for the Improvement of Female Prisoners in Newgate Prison. Anti-Slavery Committee is founded in London.

Art and science

Architect, Robert Smirke begins construction of the British Museum. Thomas Wakley founds The Lancet, the first weekly medical journal and important mouthpiece of medical reform. Charles Babbage begins work on the first calculating machine. Charles Macintosh invents waterproof fabric.


Catholic Association is founded by Daniel O'Connell in Ireland in an attempt to mobilise and politicise the entire Irish Catholic population in a systematic challenge to the ruling Protestant ascendancy. War breaks out between France and Spain. English missionary John Smith died in prison having been sentenced to be hanged for failing to take up arms against slaves in Demerara.

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