Merry-Joseph Blondel(1781-1853) was a neoclassical French painter and a prolific artist in his day. Many of his works grace museums in France and elsewhere. One of his works, La Circassienne au Bain, was bought by Mauritz Hokan Bjornstrom-Steffansson and put aboard Titanic to be shipped to the United States. Of course when Titanic sank, Blondel’s masterpiece was lost to a watery grave. Bjornstrom-Steffansson filed a compensation claim of $100,000. Needless to say he never got that amount (White Star settled the legal cases for $664,000) but the large painting was gone and worse few descriptions of it remained.
Cue Titanic enthusiast John Parker who decided to track down what it looked like and recreated it. He managed to find the necessary information and make the portrait, which is now up for auction for £2,000 to £3,000.
Before embarking on the project he went around Europe seeking out examples of Blondel’s work. “I couldn’t find any photographs of the painting that went down with the Titanic– but I found an engraving that was done in 1819,” says John. “It was only five years later so it was bound to be a fairly accurate representation.”
Source: Replica of TITANIC lost masterpiece to be auctioned in Plymouth (The Herald, 18 Feb 2016)