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Qualifications
art dealer (person), art collector, collector of Dutch and Flemish painting
In 1790 he was asked by Prince Michael Poniatowski, who was at the time in London, to form an international collection of pictures for his brother the King of Poland, Stanislaus II August Poniatowski. This enterprise ended when Poland was occupied by Russia (1795) and the king died (1798). A small part of this international collection ended up in the collection of Dulwich Picture Gallery. In 1791 Desenfans had become Consul-General of Poland.
Nationality/school
French, British
Born
Avesnes (Nord) 1744-12
Deceased
London (England) 1807-07-08
He lived with Mrs. Desenfans and Bourgeois since 1784 in 38 Charlotte (now 110 Hallam) Street, London; no. 39 was added a few years later.
Family relationships
this field records any family relationship to one or more other artist(s).
'adopted' Sir Francis Bourgeois, to whom (together with his wife Margaret Desenfans, née Morris), he left his collection, which eventually became the core of the collection of Dulwich Picture Gallery
See also
In this field, you will find references to names of groups or to the artists that made/make up groups. You may also come across references to other artists if there was/is question of collaboration without a joint name. This is the case, for instance, with artists who rendered parts of works by other artists (such as with P.P Rubens and J. Brueghel I).
in his art trade he collaborated with Le Brun (Roscam Abbing 1999, p. 105, noot 61).
This person/entity in other databases
Biographical information
Active in
  • Douai
  • Parijs
  • Londen (Engeland) 1769 - 1807
    came to London as a language teacher, became a connoisseur and artdealer. Lived in Charlotte (now Hallam) Street. He bequeathed his collection of pictures to his wife Margaret and to Sir Francis Bourgeois, who left the pictures to Dulwich College.
  • 1784 - 1807
    38 Hallam (previously Charlotte) St, London W1W 6NW (to which was added no. 39 a few years later)
active in
died in
Comment
Desenfans tried to sell his pictures at sales and private contract sales in London between 1785 and 1802 (at least fourteen have been mentioned). As often the pictures were bought in, and as seldom dimensions were given, it is not clear which pictures are sold or bought in, nor whether they are the same pictures which are still present in Dulwich Picture Gallery, After 1802 there seems to have been a change of plan: there were no sales anymore and Desenfans and Bourgeois seem to have decided that their collection was to be kept together for posterity. The Insurance List of 1804 is the first document which comprises pictures that still are present in the Dulwich Picture Gallery. 1. catalogue 1781 (according to Hofstede de Groot) 2. 1784-12-30 / 1784-12-31 Lugt 3814 (according to Hofstede de Groot) 3. 1785-05-9 / 1785-05-10, Christie’s, Catalogue of a capital collection of high finished drawings, the sole and genuine property of Monsieur Desenfans, going abroad (…) 137 drawings Lugt 3879 4. 1785-05-11/1785-05-14, Christie’s, A catalogue of the first part of the truly superb collection of Italian, Roman, Spanish, Venetian, English, French, Flemish and Dutch Pictures (…) Monsieur Desenfans, going abroad (…) 334 pictures Lugt 3882 5. 1786-04-08 (and following days), sale by private contract, Catalogue of that superb, and well-known Collection of Pictures of the Roman, Venetian, Spanish, French, Flemish, Dutch and English Schools (…) Desenfans (…) 420 pictures, and 23 drawings Lugt 4022 Copy in DPG Library bound with no. 6. + also a copy at Dulwich College with prices 6. 1786-06-8 (and following days), sale by private contract, Catalogue of that truly superb, and well-known Collection of Pictures, of the Roman, Venetian, Spanish, French, Flemish, Dutch and English Schools (…) Desenfans (…) among which are No less than Eight landscapes with cattle and figures by Berchem, and Six by Teniers .. Rubens, Vandyck…. Also Claude St. Ursula 338 pictures and 12 drawings. Lugt 4059A Copy in DPG Library, bound with no. 5. 7. 1786-07-13/1786-07-17, Christie’s, Catalogue of that truly superb, and well-known Collection of Pictures, of the Roman, Venetian, Spanish, French, Flemish, Dutch and English Schools (…) Desenfans (…). Which comprehends, among others, the following valuable Performances, viz. The famous Sea Port by Claude, Sampson and Dalilah by Rubens, St. Cyprian tied to the rock by Vandyke, and others, out of the rich cabinet of the late Sir Gregory Page, Some capital landscapes and Merrymakings by Teniers. The favourite picture of the Woman at the Well by Gerard Douw. The view of Tivoli, and Seven Landscapes with Cattle and Figures by Berchem (…) That much admired Farm yard with Horses and Figures by Wouvermans, with its Companion and Four more by the same master. (…) ..and the Works of the following Masters (…) Backhuysen, Swaniveldt, Ostade, Both, Pynaker, Brower, Ferg, Brueghel, Weeninx, &c, &c. 270 pictures and 15 drawings. Photocopy in DPG (of NGL) Lugt 4071 8. Lugt 4503 without date (according to Hofstede de Groot) 9. Dulwich College Archive, list: Pictures to be sold (c. 1793), see Warner 1881, p. 220, MS No. XVI, no. 9 (no transcription). 10. 1794-06-16, London, Calonne and Desenfans sale, An emigrant Nobleman A well known Collector Lugt 5226 (same as Lugt 5193A and Lugt 5213B) 11. 1795-02-24/1795-02-28, Skinner & Dyke, A Catalogue of the Capital Valuable and Genuine Collection of Pictures of the Roman, Bolognese, Venetian, Spanish, French, Flemish, Dutch, German and English Schools (…) late the property of Noel Desenfans, Esq. Consul-general of Poland (…).Between 500 and 600 pictures amongst which are the undoubted works of the following admired Masters, viz. Rubens (…) Van Dyck, Wouvermans, Ostade, Teniers, Cuyp, Vanderveldt (…)Particularly a fine Landscape, Sun-set, by Claude, Samson and Delilah by Rubens, some Landscapes with Cattle and Figures by Berchem in his best Manner; a Portrait of Sir Kelm Digby, by Van Dyck; (…) a capital Sea Piece by Vanderveldt: (…); Rembrandt’s Pilgrim; (…); a superb Merry Making, by Teniers., &c. 400 pictures. Lugt 5281 Photocopy in DPG (+ photocopy of transcription from NGL) 12. 1795-11-27 (and following days), Skinner & Dyke, title? Not in Lugt? No photocopy at DPG 13. 1802-03-16/1802-03-18, Skinner & Dyke, Roi de Pologne 200 pictures. Lugt 6380 14. See also Desenfans 1802. 15. Insurance List 1804, transcribed in Warner 1881, pp. 223-227, see also scans.
Creation date: 2011-05-22; Last modified date: 2021-05-17

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