F.E. Chardon

Francis Edouard Chardon was born in Calcutta on October 17th 1865. He was the son of Edouard Chardon a wealthy indigo planter. His mother was Maria Theresa Chardon, the daughter of Signor A.M. Rapello. Signor Rapello also a wealthy man assisted in placing the Emperor Louis Napoleon on the throne of France. Francis Chardon was brought to England when he was seven years of age. At this time he began his general education at All Souls Grammar School and completed this later at seminaries in France and Germany. Chardon spent several years living in Naples where he studied pastel drawing and watercolour painting under the guidance of the renowned Neapolitan artist Joseph Casciaro. While in England he lived and painted at his mother’s home in London.

During her later life, Maria Theresa Chardon spent 10 years living in a boarding house (the County Hotel) in Llandudno, where she died in 1921. Shortly after, Francis Chardon bought the property known as Rapallo House in Craig y Don; naming this after his mother. He spent the rest of his bachelor life developing the house and garden. He died at the property on December 22nd 1925.

Apart from a few portraits, such as of his mother, still-life such as “Blue Hortensias” and various other works and sketches, his subject matter is almost solely concerned with landscapes, particularly of Italy, where he studied, and of Britain. He enrolled at the Institute of Fine Arts in Naples under Joseph Casciaro, a well known pastel artist, his privileged lifestyle enabling him to travel all over Europe to follow his interest in the arts in general.  I

t also meant he had no need to sell his work for a living. It appears he had only one major exhibition in his life, in 1897 showing eighty-eight pastel works at the Dowdeswell Galleries, 160, New Bond Street, London. Newspapers of the time gave favourable reviews upon this technique, composition and treatment of subject matter, which were nearly all of Italian landscapes.

Chardon bequeathed his property (Rapallo House) and its contents to the town of Llandudno. In accordance with Chardon’s will, and with support from the National Museum of Wales, Rapallo House was converted into a public museum and art gallery, and was officially opened by the Right Hon. Lord Kenyon, K.C.V.O. on 22nd June, 1927.  

Rapello House, which for more than 60 years remained the site for Llandudno's local museum was sold when the museum was moved to Gloddaeth Street in November 1995.



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