Local | New acquisitions: Fritz von Dardel portrait of John Panzio Tockson

By on August 22, 2016

National Museum has acquired a portrait of John Panzio Tockson performed by the artist and the eunuch Fritz von Dardel. In contrast to many other Dardel more caricature and stereotyped representations of Karl XV’s chamber lackey, gives this watercoloured pencil drawing an unusually vivid picture of Tockson as an individual. Here he is seen wearing his characteristic Orientalizing red costume with a fez.

Alongside a career as a military and officer got Fritz von Dardel (1817-1901) the opportunity to train as an artist in Paris around 1840 for Léon Cogniet Eugène Lami. After returning home, became the globetrotter and versatile talented Dardel soon adjutant and a close confidant to Crown Prince Karl (XV). Not least in the artistic field Dardel came to play a major role as the king’s advisor on art purchases and the extension of the National Museum’s collections.

Fritz von Dardel had by his teacher Eugène Lami acquired the ability to escape handed watercolors depict contemporary glittering social life. He is primarily associated with the easy caricature, so-called chargeback conditioned portrait of the future greats, who he met, among other things, in his role as Cabinet Chamberlain. Dardel also made a number of interesting topographical and cultural depictions of environments and events he experienced.
Dardel mention Tockson first time in June 1861 in connection with the midsummer celebrations at Ulriksdal. Among his many chores belonged to stop and clear the king’s pipes, which earned him the epithet “pipe cleaner”. This is also supported by surviving records, but Tockson made considerably more. He served as the king’s personal waiter and took care of the majesty dogs and riding horses. It is in the role of valet stables we see Tockson on Dardel portrait. He wears one of their distinctive costumes with red fez, bolero style jacket and breeches.
Thanks to Augusta Akerlof’s portrait of him, as of old belong to the National Portrait Gallery, and now through the recent acquisition of Fritz von Dardel unusually penetrating producing Tockson gives further relief to the image of a court employed of African origin, the last titled hovmorian in our country.

The acquisition has been made possible through funding from the Axel Hirsch Foundation. Nationalmuseum has no own funds to acquire art for, but the collections enriched by gifts as well as private stiftelser- and funds.

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