Collection Online
The last moments of Chlodobert

The last moments of Chlodobert
(Derniers moments de Chlodobert)

oil on canvas
100.6 × 135.3 cm
inscribed in brown paint l.r.: ALBERT MAIGNAN
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of Messrs Wallis and Son, 1885
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
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

Exhibited Salon, Paris, 1880, no. 2418; with Henry Wallis (dealer), of the French Gallery, London, by 1885; by whom donated to the NGV, 1885.

Exhibited Salon, Paris, 1880, no. 2418

Chlodobert, the son of Queen Fredegund and King Chilperic I, the sixth century rulers of Merovia, fell ill with dysentery not long after his younger brother died from the same malaise. In a final effort to save Chlodobert, he was placed before the tomb of Saint Médard in Soissons where his parents prayed for his survival. Despite this act, he passed away during the night. Both deaths were perceived to be punishment for Regal excesses with the rulers losing their most prized jewels while their coffers were overflowing with gold and treasure. Their losses led the King and Queen to repeal the excessive taxes on the Frankish people.


Original, by Guernier, Paris

The large plaque, centre bottom, was added by the NGV after purchasing the painting. As with a number of early acquisitions, the painting and frame have remained together and in remarkable condition. The steep, forward projection of the profile gives the frame a box-like impact. The reeding of the leading edge occurs on frames as diverse as those by John Thallon and Isaac Whitehead, varying from simple to complex in surface treatment and profile.1


1 The label on this frame is incomplete and the name of the maker remains elusive. The most credible name is Guernier. In 1844 Guernier is recorded as a gilder and decorator in Rue des Cordier, Saint-Malo. Perhaps this family name continues within this field of practice. The frame is an excellent example and has been kept in this publication despite the difficulty in identifying the maker.

(Guernier) Paris

The frame uses composition mouldings on a wooden chassis to develop the form and decoration of the frame. The leading edge is a reeded timber profile which is replicated, in smaller scale, toward the slip. The frame is distinguished by the refinement of the water gilding. The cavetto sections are all burnished. The narrow flat carries a pattern of stylised leaves and geometric motifs burnished on the matte gilded surface. The section that forms the sight edge, essentially a slip, is fixed into the frame permanently and uses splines to re-enforce the corners. This intersection of frame components would be weak if not for the re-enforcement of the corners and the bracing blocks in the centres of each side on the reverse. The flat section nevertheless shows signs of warping. Though the gilding is of very high quality, the timber has not been carefully selected.


The frame was cleaned and conserved in 2004. The mitres remain open and there is some wearing of the gilding, but the surface remains largely original with the highly refined articulation of gilding still intact.

142.0 x 176.5 x 12.5 cm; sight 98.6 x 133.0 cm