A. B. Duhamel (1736-1800) was an illustrator and engraver, active in time of the late 18th century in France and is known for his colourful engravings of contemporary furniture and female fashion, published in Cabinet des Modes. He also executed portraits and book illustrations.
The portrait represents Siméon – Guy Mongy, born in 1763 in Béthune to a notary Siméon – François Mongy. During the Reign of Terror he was arrested twice, after which he escaped to Münster. Not much is known about his life, but the script in the lower margin mentions him as a friend of the artist.
The drawing showcases filigree calligraphic lines which were lost in the engraved reproductions of Duhamel’s work. The portrait is accompanied with affectionate, somehow passionate verses by the author, dedicated to his friend, depicted on the portrait:
Amitié, doux lien, flamme pure et durable,
Que le Seigneur fait durée au fond de notre cœur;
Verse toujours sur nous la lumière ineffable
Et ta bienfaisante chaleur.
Offert à Monsieur Siméon Mongys, le 18 Février 1796, Par son tout dévoué a : Duhamel.
[Friendship, sweet bond, pure and lasting flame,
May the Lord endure in the depths of our hearts;
Always shed on us the ineffable light
And your beneficent warmth.
Given to Monsieur Siméon Mongys, February 18, 1796, By his devoted A: Duhamel.]
References: Cf.: Georges Sangnier , Les émigrés du Pas-de-Calais pendant la Révolution, 1959, p. 150.