Tissot’s Victorian Ladies

Self-portrait in 1865
Self-portrait in 1865.

James Tissot (1836 – 1902), was a French painter and illustrator.

He painted scenes of Paris and London society—and especially fashionably dressed women.

Born in Nantes, France, his father was a drapery merchant and his mother designed hats. Their involvement in the fashion industry influenced his artistic flair for painting the finer details of women’s clothing.

Tissot enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts to study in the studios of Hippolyte Flandrin and Louis Lamothe—both known for their decorative art skills. It was here that Tissot became acquainted with Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and James Whistler.

In 1863, Tissot found the niche that would bring him critical acclaim and wealth—portraits depicting modern life.

He moved to London in 1871, where he quickly developed his reputation for painting elegantly dressed, fashionable women.

The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists quotes Edmond de Goncourt in 1874 as writing that Tissot had ‘a studio with a waiting room where, at all times, there is iced champagne at the disposal of visitors”.

Tissot’s popularity among wealthy British industrialists gave him an income usually reserved for the top strata of society.

a studio with a waiting room where, at all times, there is iced champagne at the disposal of visitors

Tissot painted elegant ladies from high society in enchanting everyday scenes. Vote for your favorites from this list of 20 beautiful Tissot paintings.

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David James

David James

I'm an Englishman in Boston. History is a joy—it binds us, it connects us, it guides us. I'm interested in making history more accessible and more fun. Join me on this fantastic voyage through time.