Price: $3,500.00


Autographed Numa Blanc of Paris carte de visite photograph to Madame Richards, c. 1862.

The great and one of the wealthiest composers of his time, Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) arrived in Paris in 1824 and remained, composing his last opera Guillaume Tell in 1829.  He essentially retired writing a few smaller works and some religious works throughout the course of the balance of his life.  Despite the authorized pastiches assembled from his music, he never composed an original opera again. (He did however prior to 1835 compose two cantatas, his Stabat Mater and a few songs including his Soirées Musicales cycle.) He left for Italy in 1829 with his wife, soprano Isabella Colbran, returning to Paris shortly thereafter to insure his annuity with the new Louis Philippe government and to visit his mistress and future wife Olympé Pélissier. He left for Italy again in 1835, separated from Colbran and taught at the Conservatory in Bologna.  His father passed away in 1839 and Colbran followed in 1845.  Rossini was then able to marry Pélessier after an appropriate time in 1846.  Rossini’s failing health led his wife to take him back to Paris in 1855 where he returned to health, enjoyed his life as an advisor to young composers, held endless soirees in his two homes for friends and musicians, ate vigorously and even composed, including his “Petite Messe Solennelle” (which is neither small, nor solemn) and moreover his extensive cycle “Péchés de Vieillesse”, or “Sins of My Old Age”.

Rossini was not faithful to any one photographer.  Popular, he sat for numerous photographs with the important photographers of their time.  This full-length image from the Parisian photographer, Numa Prosper Blanc de Labarthe (1816-1897) otherwise known in the trade as Numa Blanc.  The earliest we have seen this photograph signed is 1862 (National Library of Naples “Naples and Rossini” exhibition, 2018, identical photograph dedicated to Conte Edoardo Lucchesi Palli )

This photograph was likely dedicated to the wife of Welsh composer Henry Brinley Richards (1817-1885), Harriet Banting Richards.  The composer, known as Brinley Richards as his father was also Henry and an organist was a pupil and friend of Frederic Chopin in Paris, where he became friendly with his circle, as well as other composers such as Giacomo Meyerbeer.  He would come to Paris both alone and with his wife from time to time and as he was the most important “Richards” in music at that time, it seems likely he would have attended a Rossini soiree at his home and the autographed photograph a likely outcome.

Clipped corners at the top was the result of placement in a carte de visite album contemporary to the photograph, which required the clipping for placement, or a like frame.  A superb example!

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