Roux family (marine painters)

The Roux Family of Marseilles was a family of hydrographers and marine painters who specialized in ship portraits . While many generations have been involved in the field of hydrographic business, it has become a reality in the field of painting and painting. [1] The painters in the family were Joseph, Ange-Joseph Antoine , Mathieu-Antoine, Ursule-Josephine, Francois Joseph Frederic and Francois Geoffroi.

Joseph Roux

Joseph Roux was born in 1725 in Marseille, France to Joseph Roux, who worked as a hydrographer, and Magdaleine Senequier. [2] He Took over the family business and est devenu has hydrographer like His Father, “in the course of qui he published, MANUFACTURED, and sold a wide assortment of charts, navigating instruments , and related nautical gear.” [3] It was probably around the mid-18th century when Joseph earned the title of “Hydrographer of the King” meaning Hydrographer to the King. [4] In 1764, Joseph published a folio of twelve Mediterranean charts which were used for a number of years after their publication. Copies were even used on HMS Victory in 1803 and 1805, as well as on HMSShannon . [5] Joseph was also known to paint, though not as frequently as his grandchildren. Two such works, oil paintings titled Bonhomme Richard vs. Serapis and Naval Engagement between a British East Indiaman and a French Warship , the Peabody Essex Museum and showcase Joseph’s skill as a painter. [6] Joseph died in 1793 in Marseille. [7]

  • Folio of twelve Mediterranean charts published by Joseph Roux in 1764

  • Inside cover of Joseph Roux ‘folio of Mediterranean charts

  • One of the charts inside Joseph’s folio

  • Octant made by Joseph Roux ca 1780

Ange-Joseph Antoine Roux

Ange-Joseph Antoine Roux , who went by “Antoine Roux”, was born March 5, 1765 in Marseille, France to Joseph Roux and Marie-Ursule Demoline. [8] He grew up in his father’s hydrographic shop where he most likely picked up a great deal of nautical knowledge. [9] The earliest known work by Antoine is a sketch from 1787, signed and dated, showing pieces of a man-of-war . Later sketchbooks are in the collection at the Peabody Essex Museum. Antoine became famous for his ship portraits and shipowners. [10] He became very popular for the accuracy of his portraits and the way he made them seem alive.[11]

For the most part Antoine’s style remained the same, especially when it came to hulls and rigging, which he depicted with excellent skill. One area that changed his depiction of water. It was around 1805-1806 that it halted illustrating waves so formally with high-crested wavelets, except in the instance of rough seas, and with more natural looking waves. There was also a discernible pattern in regards to his signature:

1790’s-1802 “made by Ante [or” Antne “] Roux”

1801-1830 “Ante [or” Antne “] Roux in Marseille”

1825-1835 “Ante [gold Antne”] Roux father in Marseille ”

Antoine died April 20, 1835 from Cholera. He continues to paint and work in the hydrographic shop until his death. [12]

  •  Jean-Baptiste de Havrein Marseille Harbor in the Marseille Naval Museum
  •  The Mont-Blanc off Marseille, with two merchants in the background
  •  Schooner Therpiscore (1820) at the Benaki Museum
  •  The Louis Assailly Of A Gale of Wind (1825) at The Mariners’ Museum
  •  Fight of Survellante Against Kebeck (1811) at The Mariners’ Museum
  •  The Themis Comandee(1809) at The Mariners’ Museum
  •  The Magnanime Towing Trade of Paris (1809) at The Mariners’ Museum
  •  French Merchantman(1803) at The Mariners’ Museum
  •  Camilla (1806) at The Mariners’ Museum
  •  Sailing ship at Marseille (1803) at The Mariners’ Museum
  •  Example of Antoine’s signature, taken from the watercolor Sailing ship at Marseille (1803)

Mathieu-Antoine Roux

Mathieu-Antoine Roux, who like his father went by “Antoine Roux”, was born in Marseille, France on May 20, 1799 to the elder Antoine and Rose Elizabeth Gabrielle Catelin. He would be the first of four children to the couple. Antoine also became a painter, but he was not considered to be a skilled man. He ended up taking over the hydrographic business of an uncle only a short distance from the one his father ran. [13] [14] He used the same image of his grandfather had introduced it into his hydrographic shop and that became associated with the Roux family, that of the two little men, one using a telescope and the other using an octant . [15]Upon Antoine’s death on January 26, 1872, his son François Antoine Roux, nicknamed “Tonin”, took over the hydrographic shop. [16] Antoine’s signatures were very clear. He often signed “Ante Roux eldest son”, which can be translated as “Antoine Roux eldest son”. [17] [18]

  • Ocean Reunion at the Marseille Naval Museum

  • Ocean at the Marseille Naval Museum

  • Pilote at the Marseille Naval Museum

  • Victor (1835) at The Mariners’ Museum

  • Antoine’s signature from his watercolor Victor(1835) it says “Ante Roux son aine Marseille”

  • Antoine’s trade card on the back of Victor (1835)

  • Giacomo Mortola at The Mariners’ Museum

  • Fight of the Three Mats Arzamas and Neptue (ca 1851-1859) at The Mariners’ Museum

  • Dauphin (1825) at The Mariners’ Museum

  • Alfred (1859) at The Mariners’ Museum

Ursule-Josephine Roux

Ursule Josephine was the second child of Antoine and Rose; born in 1801 in Marseille. Very little is known about her and she did not paint as frequently as her brothers. One painting, titled View of Marseille Harbor is owned by the Peabody Essex Museum. As of 1924, two others were privately owned by Edward Gaubert, who knew the family. They are titled The entrance of the Port of Marseille and the Calanque of the Bear . [19]

François Joseph Frédéric Roux

François Joseph Frederic, who went by Frederic, was the third child of Antoine and Rose and was born in 1805 in Marseille. Frederic was already painting for money at the age of 17 in 1822, clearly showing a great skill for his craft. As a young man, Frederic went to Paris at the insistence of Carle and Horace Vernet (his grandson of Joseph Vernet ) to study at the Vernet studio. It was in Paris where he was commissioned by Admiral Jean-Baptiste Philibert Wilaumez to create 40 watercolors of the vessels on which he had served. This set is now in the Navy Museum in Paris. Frederic was also commissioned to make 23 watercolors dedicated toDuke of Orleans , Ferdinand Philippe , which were finished in 1831. It was around 1835 that Frederic moved from Paris to Havre where he set up a hydrographic shop and painting business. [20]

Frederic did not solely go to the hydrographic and painting business, but rather divided his time with adventures, traveling and enjoying the pleasures life had to offer. He ventured a few times back to Marseilles, but spent the rest of his life in Havre, where he died in January 1870. [21]

François Geoffroi Roux

François Geoffroi, who went by François, was the fourth child of Antoine and Rose and was born on October 21, 1811 in Marseille. His talent brought him to the attention of Carle and Horace Vernet, as he had his brother Frédéric, but he did not leave for Paris as his brother did. He stayed in Marseille where he eventually took over his father’s hydrographic shop. [22] Francis became famous for his skill in portraying a ship naturally, to almost make it appear to be one of a painting rather than a painting. [23] He was so skilled that it was said that Francis had “assimilated the science of the ship as well as both builder and sailor.” [24]Of particular interest was a series of watercolors created between the late 1860s and 1882 that illustrated the “development of naval and merchant vessels since the last decade of the eighteenth century.” [25] These were given to the Louvre , but not all made it and so an exact count of how many were created is unknown. The Marine Museum currently owns 71. François died in Marseille on September 30, 1882. [26]

  • The Fox (1846)

  • Greek brig Ares (1881) at The Benaki Museum

  • The Goeland (1838) at The Mariners’ Museum

  • French Fleet Alignment Toulon (1864) at The Mariners’ Museum

  • Example of Francois’ signature, taken from Alignment French Fleet Toulon (1864)

  • Annita (1866) at The Mariners’ Museum

  • Fregate Wagram (1829) at The Mariners’ Museum

  • Marc Antoine (1866) at The Mariners’ Museum

  • William Alexis (1843) at The Mariners’ Museum

  • Harriet Ralli (1856) at The Mariners’ Museum

  • Frigate in a stiff breezeat The Mariners’ Museum

  • Frigate and small boatsat The Mariners’ Museum

  • Brig becalmed at The Mariners’ Museum

  • Ship of the line and sailing craft, at The Mariners’ Museum


  • July 1 – September 15, 1939 at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine. [27] 87 watercolors were on display at this exhibition. [28]
  • 1955 at the Cantini Museum in Marseille, France where 80 watercolors and some sketchbooks were displayed. [29]
  • 1978-1979 at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. [30]

Family tree

The following is the family tree for the Roux family of Marseilles. [31]

François Roux
Joseph Roux Magdeleine Senequier
Joseph Roux Marie-Ursule Demolin
Ange-Joseph Antoine Roux Rose Elizabeth Gabrielle Catelin
Mathieu-Antoine Roux Ursule-Josephine Roux François Joseph Frederic Roux François Geoffroi Roux


  1. Jump up^ Gulliver (1930), pp. 121-122
  2. Jump up^ Smith (1978), family tree
  3. Jump up^ Smith (1978), p. 1
  4. Jump up^ Smith (1978), p. 2
  5. Jump up^ Smith (1978), pp. 2-3
  6. Jump up^ Smith (1978), pp. 4-5
  7. Jump up^ Smith (1978), family tree
  8. Jump up^ Ships and Shipping (1925), pp. 14-15
  9. Jump up^ Smith (1978), p. 6
  10. Jump up^ Smith (1978), pp. 7-8
  11. Jump up^ Gulliver (1930), pp. 121-122
  12. Jump up^ Ships and Shipping (1925), p. 27
  13. Jump up^ Smith (1978), p. 33
  14. Jump up^ Ships and Shipping (1925), p. 29
  15. Jump up^ Smith (1978), pp. 1-2, 33
  16. Jump up^ Smith (1978), p. 34
  17. Jump up^ Smith (1978), pp. 35-36
  18. Jump up^ Google Translate
  19. Jump up^ Smith (1978), p. 37
  20. Jump up^ Smith (1978), p. 38
  21. Jump up^ Smith (1978), pp. 39-40
  22. Jump up^ Smith (1978), p. 30
  23. Jump up^ Smith (1978), pp. 60-61
  24. Jump up^ Ships and Shipping (1925), p. 33
  25. Jump up^ Smith (1978), p. 61
  26. Jump up^ Smith (1978), pp. 61-62
  27. Jump up^ Penobscot Marine Museum (1939), title page
  28. Jump up^ Smith (1978), p. ix
  29. Jump up^ Smith (1978), p. ix
  30. Jump up^ Smith (1978), p. ix
  31. Jump up^ Smith (1978), family tree

Leave a Comment