Party Time at Baron Lycklama’s

Tetar van Elven - Bal Travesti chez le baron Lycklama 1874 - Musée de la Castre
“Bal Travesti chez le Baron Lycklama 1874”, by Pierre Tetar van Elven (collection: Musée de la Castre, Cannes)

(Click here to view the painting in high resolution)

Tinco Lycklama had a reputation for organizing great parties at his villa in Cannes. He was definitely an icon of the local ‘high society’.

We know this as a fact before his marriage (1875) with Agatha Juliana thoe Schwartzenberg en Hohenlansberg. Indeed, we have two formal records about the parties organized by Tinco. One took place in December 1873, the other in February 1874. Below, we give some details about these parties.

There is no doubt that Tinco and his wife continued to be active participants in the social life of Cannes. Newspaper articles indicate their participation in various events. Also, given that Tinco was the city’s great benefactor by offering Cannes its first museum (in 1877), it is obvious that he remained part of the local scene for the rest of his life. But, we have no trace about any further parties organized by the Lycklama. Perhaps Tinco became more “quiet” once married?

Barely two years after marrying (1875), Tinco donated his collection to the municipality in December 1877.   It included not only the thousands of souvenirs, art and other objects from his travels and acquisitions – it also comprised the collection which he bought (in 1874) from the estate of the late Edmond Ginoux de la Coche (including unique artifacts from Oceania and Pre-Columbian art – now all visible at the Musée de la Castre). (For background on Edmond Ginoux de La Coche (1811-1870), see Wikipedia…).

That same year, they moved from the (large) Villa Escarras on the current rue de Latour-Maubourg to another Villa Escarras on the old chemin des Tignes. We also know that the young couple started to travel extensively, notably to Italy, in the subsequent years, and thus spent little time at their new villa. And, indeed, by the end of 1881, they move to a new home on the Chemin de St Nicolas.

So, whereas the bachelor Tinco was previously holding lavish parties in the splendor of the Villa Escarras and surrounded by his collection, his later domicile – and marriage – were probably far more moderate (for what that means for these young rich aristocrats).

The illustration above concerns the second party, held in February 1874. The painting (from the collection of the Musée de la Castre at Cannes) is by Pierre Tetar van Elven (1828-1908), a Dutch painter and personal friend of Tinco. Pierre was an avid traveler himself; though little is (currently) documented about his life, we know that he traveled through North Africa and also accompanied Tinco’s secretary Ernest Massenot on a trip to Beirut (this trip actually took place between the two recorded parties at the Villa Escarras).


Chronology and details (information may evolve)

09/12/1873 (Tuesday) – Party at the Amphitryon of the Villa Escarras.

  • Details (Quoted in Courier de Cannes 11/12/1873. and 14/12/1873)
    • Musicians: a double quatuor, including
      • M. Houdsorn (sic, is Antoine Oudshoorn), violoncellist (who played with the orchestra of Monte Carlo), solo  violoncellist of the King of The Netherlands
      • M. Hasselmann (sic, is Alphonse Hasselmans), violoncellist/harpist, “de la chapelle du baron Von der Vles”
      • Stiel, violon solo de la chapelle du baron von der Vles
      • Charles Dupart, piano
    • Plant arrangements: M. Martichon ( = Leopold Martichon, born at Le Luc in 1838/39)
  • Participants (as quoted on 23/11/1971, see source…)
    • Chevalier de Colquhoum
    • Comte et comtesse de Kergolay-Maubourg
    • Baronne de Lockhorst
    • Lady Talbot
    • Mme Tripet-Skipytzine
    • Comte d’Esprès
    • Comtesse de Bernis
    • Lady Franck
    • Lady Haygate
    • Comte de la Ferrière
    • Chevalier de Saint-Chéron
    • Comtes de Labédoyère
    • Comte et comtesse du Passage
    • Lady Ridell
    • Comte de Wimpfen
    • Mme de Bruchard
    • Comte Sterky
    • Mme Barbe-Patterson
    • M. Lucq

16/02/1874 (Monday) – Party at Villa Lycklama (painted by Pierre Tetar van Elven)

  • Details (quoted in Les Echos de Cannes 21/02/1874)
    • Orchestra: Orchestre du Cercle Nautique, led by Monsieur Brick ( = Paul Brick (1820-1881))
    • Buffet : La maison Nègre (Joseph Nègre, de Grasse)
    • Service auxiliaire: dirigé par Louis Richard, premier maître d’hôtel du Grand Hôtel de Cannes
  • Participants
    • Over 200 participants – see Les Echos de Cannes 21/02/1874

 

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Emile Vernet-Lecomte, or… Pierre Tetar van Elven?

Tinco Lycklama (1837-1900) - par Emile Vernet-Lecomte

Closer examination of the Tinco Lycklama portrait, currently on display at the Musée de la Castre in Cannes, reveals that the painting is signed by not just one but TWO hands. The search is on to understand this ‘mystery’.

The portrait of Tinco in oriental garb is generally attributed to Emile Vernet-Lecomte (1821-1900), a French orientalist painter. His name is clearly visible on the left bottom of the painting. It is dated 1869. Understanding the relationship between Tinco Lycklama and Vernet-Lecomte certainly makes part of our research. But, Tinco himself attributes  the painting to Vernet-Lecomte. In the act of donation of his collections to the city of Cannes, he specifies that the painting by Emile Vernet-Lecomte (“of Paris”) should have a prominent place in the museum at the Town Hall”.

However, as the illustrations show, a close-up of the right bottom of the painting reveals another name – “Van Elven”.

 

Pierre Tetar van Elven (1828-1908 – see his file on RKD…) was an acquaintance of Tinco Lycklama and nephew of the better known artist Paul Tetar van Elven (1823-1896 – see more about this family of artists on the Tetar van Elven museum website…).

Pierre was the artist who painted the “Bal Masqué” that took place on February 1874, at Tinco’s Villa Escarras in Cannes. Pierre also purportedly travelled with Tinco to the Middle East (research is pending). There is a good chance that more drawings or paintings from these travels (or, more directly, about Tinco) may exist.

The portrait of Tinco is attributed to Emile Vernet-Lecomte himself. But, why the specific mention of “van Elven”? The signature at the bottom right doesn’t look like Pierre’s usual signature.

Tinco Lycklama, by Bingham (1869)
Tinco Lycklama, by Bingham (1869)

To make this question even more pertinent, we discovered an 1869 black/white photography in the collections of the Fries Museum, showing a highly similar portrait of Tinco. The source suggests that the photographer is “Bingham”. This makes us think of the pioneer English photographer Robert Jefferson Bingham (1825-1870), who spent a lot of time in France. Here we see Tinco in an Albanian costume, but the face, posture and settings are virtually identical to the portrait at the Musée de la Castre.

Is this painting on the black/white photography by Emile Vernet-Lecomte, or by Pierre Tetar van Elven? Which was the original painting, and who copied who? And… where is that portrait of Tinco in Albanian costume?

These questions may seem details. But, after all, this is about one of the finest portrayals we know of Tinco. And, by finding the answers, we may also discover more about the relationship of Tinco to these artists, and about his travels.

 

 

Pierre Tetar van Elven (1828-1908), artist

Petrus Henricus Theodorus Tetar van Elven (1828-1908), painter
Petrus Henricus Theodorus Tetar van Elven (1828-1908), painter

Pierre Tetar van Elven was a member of a family of artists. He met Tinco Lycklama in France, and accompanied him on travel to the Middle East. He produced a few portraits for Tinco, including a portrayal of a “Réception et bal travesti dans les salons du baron de Lycklama, février 1874” at Villa Escarras, Cannes.

See his profile on Wikipedia…

Source: Pierre Tetar van Elven – Wikiwand