Alexandre Thomas FRANCIA

Calais 1820 - Brussels 1884


The son and pupil of the emigré French watercolourist François Louis Francia, who worked for some twenty-five years in England, Alexandre Francia was raised in his father’s native city of Calais. Unlike his father, who after returning from London in 1817 worked in relative obscurity in Calais until his death in 1839, Alexandre travelled extensively throughout Europe, particularly in Scotland and the Low Countries, and eventually settled in Brussels. He specialized in marine subjects, notably views of ports, fishing scenes and storms. He made his Salon debut in Paris in 1835, and was to exhibit in Paris, London, Antwerp and Brussels throughout his career, receiving numerous honours and prizes.

His style was indebted to that of his father, although as one recent scholar has noted, ‘Alexandre’s fastidious drawing and brilliance of palette never quite compensate for what he has failed to grasp of his father’s breadth of vision...For all that, the best early watercolours by Alexandre can come very close indeed to his father’s work and, but for his obliging habit of signing nearly all his work, would pose some thorny problems for the collector.’