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Drawing by French School: Gaspard Théodore Mollien, available at Childs Gallery, Boston

French School

Gaspard Théodore Mollien, 1821

Inscription reads that this sitter was a passenger of the ill-fated Medusa and drawn to commemorate at age 25 his survivorship to his family shortly thereafter.

There is a later pencil portrait of this sitter by Chasseriau in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Collection.

Gaspard Théodore Mollien (29 August 1796, Paris – 28 June 1872, Nice) was a French diplomat and explorer.  In July 1816, as a passenger aboard the Medusa enroute to Saint-Louis, Senegal, he became shipwrecked to the south of Cap Blanc. He survived the ordeal, and eventually made his way to Gorée Island, where he worked as a hospital manager.  In 1817 he explored Cap-Vert (Senegal) and traveled the Senegal River. During the following year he was enlisted by the colonial governor to seek out the sources of the Senegal and Gambia rivers. In 1819 he was awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor for his African exploits.  Beginning in 1822 he was stationed in Colombia, then in Haiti, where in 1828 he was named consul; from 1831 to 1848 he served as consul in Havana, Cuba.

In Exhibitions: