Collection Online
Portrait of a gentleman
oil on canvas
60.0 × 45.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1876
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
17th & 18th Century Decorative Arts & Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

In his lifetime, Tocqué achieved fame for the unprecedented informality and unembellished naturalness of his portraits. Recent conservation of this portrait, which had remained unattributed for over a century, revealed the hallmarks of Tocqué’s style: a pastel-like tonality and softness, contrasted with crisp highlights in the eyes and details of dress.

Abandoned aged ten by his painter father, Louis Tocqué was adopted in 1707 by the portrait painter Jean-Marc Nattier, who became his teacher and later father-in-law. Like Francois Boucher, Lemoyne and later Roslin, Tocqué was much favored by the French court, and was wooed by the Danish and Russian aristocratic patrons.


The former framing of Portrait of a gentleman in grey coat, c.1747, dated to the late nineteenth century. It took the form of a Neoclassical frame, with a low relief pattern of swirling stems, leaves and flowers in the scotia, and a laurel and berry torus at the top edge. (above)
The painting was acquired on the advice of Eugene von Guerard in 1876 and the frame possibly dates from that time.
The painting appears in a photograph from 1866, in a simple, undecorated profile frame.
The default French frame from this period would be an ornate Louis XV style. However the framing of the time included more restrained, classical forms and this less ornate frame type was considered for the portrait. Rather than build a reproduction frame for this work, an original frame was sought, in part because period frames in this small scale are more readily available.
A Louis XV classical style, straight sided frame from the 2nd or 3rd quarter of the eighteenth century was available in London.
The frame was reduced slightly in format to fit the Tocque.
The frame was received in June 2007 and fitted to the painting. (top)

The attribution to eighteenth century French artist, Louis Tocque (Paris 1696-1772) was established with the cleaning and restoration of the painting in 2004.

Unknown - 18th century