Wolverhampton BTW

August Jean Jacques Hervieu

Hervieu, August Jean Jacques, 1794—c.1879

by Benjamin Colbert

Auguste-Jean-Jacques Hervieu was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. His father (d. c.1812) was Colonel under Napoleon, serving as Commissary. His mother died around 1797 when he was three years of age. His father intended him for a military career and placed him in a boarding school at Paris to instil appropriate values, but Hervieu was drawn towards the arts. When his father died a prisoner after Napoleon’s disastrous retreat from Moscow (1812-13), Hervieu became a pupil of the French painter Girodet (1767-1824) and, later, Anotine-Jean Gros (1771-1835).

After 1815 Hervieu's radical republican opposition to the restoration government led to a prosecution. In response, Hervieu fled to England. In 1823, he served in the émigré forces of General Charles Lallemande in the failed defence of the Spanish constitutionalists from French invasion, returning to England in the aftermath. Tried in absentia in France on the earlier charges, Hervieu was fined 15,000 francs and sentenced to five years in prison. Thus confirmed in exile, Hervieu continued to paint, exhibiting successfully at the Royal Academy in London while taking on pupils of his own.

In 1826, Hervieu joined the household of Francis Trollope, engaged to instruct her children. The two became friends, and Trollope used her influence to promote his works. When Trollope and several of the children departed for the United States in 1827 to join Frances Wright’s radical community at Nashoba, Tennessee, Hervieu accompanied the party, and remained with them when they relocated to Cincinnati. There, he opened a drawing school and established connections with the Western Museum where the party developed a successful theatrical show. He partook of their losses, too, in an ill-fated bazaar scheme. Nevertheless, Hervieu’s portrait commissions allowed the party to travel elsewhere, including Washington D.C. and Niagara falls, all of which feature in Trollope's blockbuster travel book, illustrated by Hervieu, that appeared on their return to England, Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832).

Hervieu continued to be Trollope’s chief illustrator throughout the 1830s sometimes accompanying her on her travels. The success here helped him widen his repertoire as an illustrator and artist, and he continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy. Around 1842, he married a Swiss woman (Ransom 184), after which time he had less contact with the Trollope family. In 1851, his ‘Britannica Orbis’, a sixteen-foot diameter ceiling painting, attracted considerable attention at the Great Exhibition. He remained a well-known figure in British artistic circles for decades to come and died around 1879 (‘Echoes’).


‘Echoes of the Week’. Illustrated London News Sat., 5 July 1879: 10. The British Newspaper Archive. Web. 1 July 2022.

Rev. of General Lafayette’s Landing and Reception at Cincinnati, and Historical Painting, by Oguest Jean J. Hervieu. Western Monthly Review 3 (Feb. 1830): 440-47. Print.

Heineman, Helen. Mrs. Trollope: The Triumphant Feminine in the Nineteenth Century. Athens, OH: Ohio UP, 1979. Print.

McDermott, John Francis. ‘Mrs Trollope’s Illustrator, Auguste Hervieu in America: 1827-1831’. Gazette des beaux-arts 51 (Mar. 1958): 169-90. Print.

‘Mister Hervieu’s Ceiling Picture’. Glasgow Morning Journal Mon., 4 Dec. 1865. The British Newspaper Archive. Web. 1 July 2022.

Ransom, Teresa. Fanny Trollope: A Remarkable Life. Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1995. Print.


Title Published
Domestic Manners of the Americans 1832
Paris and the Parisians in 1835 1835
Vienna and the Austrians 1838
A Summer in Brittany 1840