Editorial Feature

Who was Christina Chanlon?

Explore the work of the Dutch artist who forged a career in printmaking in the 18th century

Christina Chanlon was an 18th-century Dutch artist, known for her skills as a draughtsman and a printmaker. Born in Amsterdam in 1748 with a musician for a father and a painter for a grandfather, Chanlon was encouraged to pursue her artistic talents from a young age. She began her formal training at the age of seven under her cousin, Sara Troost, and later studied with the artist Cornelius Ploos van Amstel. Her talents developed and she devoted her time to etching, inspired by the style of Dutch Golden Age painter Adriaen van Ostade. Growing up in artistic circles allowed Christina to pursue her artistry with the encouragement of her family, a rarity for a young woman at the time.

Chanlon became known for her depictions of domestic scenes, particularly those of women and children, although the artist herself was never able to bear a child. She married Christian Fredrick Ruppe at the age of 36, a merchant and organist who held a post at Leiden University. Eight months after their wedding, Chanlon suffered a miscarriage, and again four and a half years later. She continued to draw throughout her marriage, marking her work with Chra Cha., Chra Chal., or CC as using her maiden name allowed her to retain the reputation and clientele she had spent her life building.

Portrait of Christina Chalon, by Jan Chalon (From the collection of the Rijksmuseum)

At the age of 51, Chanlon suffered a mental breakdown. Her husband cared for her at home for the next nine years, until eventually she was committed to the “Nieuwenburg Improvement House” in Hazerswoude.

Although she only left thirty images behind after her death in 1808, Christina Chanlon was a well respected artist who left a lasting impact on the world of printmaking with her timeless images of familial life. Here are some of her works:

Staande vrouw met kind op de arm, by Christina Chalon, 1777/1779 (From the collection of Rijksmuseum)
Moeder met twee kinderen voor de deur van een school, by Christina Chalon, c. 1758 - c. 1808 (From the collection of Rijksmuseum)
Groep kinderen met een oude vrouw, by Christina Chalon, 1758/1808 (From the collection of Rijksmuseum)
Zittende moeder met kind, by Christina Chalon, 1777/1779 (From the collection of Rijksmuseum)
Twee meisjes, by Christina Chalon, 1758/1808 (From the collection of Rijksmuseum)
Boerenpraatje, by Christina Chalon, 1758/1808 (From the collection of Rijksmuseum)
Drie meisjes met poppen, by Christina Chalon, 1777/1779 (From the collection of Rijksmuseum)
Vrouw met kind bij twee mannen, by Christina Chalon, 1758/1808 (From the collection of Rijksmuseum)
Grootvader met kind, by Christina Chalon, 1758/1808 (From the collection of Rijksmuseum)
Boerenfamilie bij het voeren van de varkens, by Christina Chalon, 1758/1808 (From the collection of Rijksmuseum)
Boer met gezin, by Christina Chalon, 1758/1808 (From the collection of Rijksmuseum)
Groep mensen voor de deur van een woning, by Christina Chalon, 1758/1808 (From the collection of Rijksmuseum)
Credits: All media
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