Euterpe, Alec and Cotz Ionides

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Euterpe, Alec and Cotz Ionides by Georges Bellenger (1847-1915)
England, signed and dated 1869, Museum no. CAI.1151
Oil on canvas, bequeathed by Constantine Alexander Ionides, on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum

In this painting, three serious looking children are portrayed in their home, set against the background of their father’s wealth and property. They are framed by the back of the chair on the left, and the fine ceramic vase on the console to the right. 8 Holland Villas Road, London is a typical mid-19th century bourgeois interior, with the sumptuous Turkish carpet chosen to display a fashionable taste for the ‘oriental’. The children appear thoughtful and almost wistful, with only the oldest boy, the heir to this house, looking directly at the viewer.

This painting portrays the three eldest children of Constantine Ionides and his wife Agathonike, donor of the Ionides Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. A highly successful and wealthy merchant, Ionides became a patron of the arts and friend to the most successful artists and designers of the day, including James McNeill Whistler, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and Walter Crane. The Ionides’ extensive collections included over a thousand paintings, drawings and prints that were later bequeathed to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1900.

You can find this painting in the Childhood Galleries at the Museum of Childhood.