Chelsea Children, Chelsea Embankment

Chelsea Children, Chelsea Embankment



Born in Lorient, Brittany and having fought in the Franco-Prussian War, Roussel moved to England in 1870. He settled in London and shared a studio with Percy Jacomb-Hood and Thomas Henry in Chelsea. Although he first began exhibiting in London in 1872 it was not until 1885 that Whistler became aware of his work and arranged to meet him. The two artists found they not only shared similar subject matter but their artistic sympathies and thoughts about the art establishment were also the same. Unusually for Whistler and his friends, they remained on good terms for life. Along with Whistler he became a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1887 only to resign with Whistler and his followers in 1888. Whistler is supposed to have said of Roussel, “At last I have found a follower worthy of the master”. Although never actually a pupil, Whistler’s influence on Roussel’s work was immense, particular during his time living in Chelsea between 1880 and 1891. In 1891 Roussel moved to Parsons Green, Fulham and his continued to paint aesthetic landscapes and portraits as well as producing many excellent etchings. Roussel died in St Leonards on Sea in 1926 and a Memorial Exhibition of his work was held in the following year at Goupil Gallery, London. More than 30 of his pictures were included in the “London Impressionists” exhibition at the Michael Parkin Gallery, London in 1975. Examples of his work are in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Gallery and other public collections. The present work shows a group of children on Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. Seen in reverse it is they surround a bench between Chelsea Old Church and Oakley Street with Albert Bridge just visible in the background. It is presented in the artist’s “Comedy” pattern frame. Roussel designed six different frames to surround his etching, four for monochrome prints and two for those printed in colours. Once printed the etched designs were cut from the sheet and glued to contoured wooden mouldings and then varnished. Complete frames have become very rare. The “Comedy” pattern frame was made c.1907-08 and there were a total of about 10 completed frames produced. (see Hausberg, no.165). Chelsea Children, Chelsea Embankment was executed in 1889 with a total printing of about 30 impressions (Hausberg 32). The Victoria & Albert Museum hold a copy of this etching in one of the artist’s “Phaeton” frames.


Height 48.26 cm / 19 "
Width 34.29 cm / 13 "
Framed height 120.65 cm / 47 "
Framed width 93.98 cm / 37 "