Popelin, Claudius (French, 1825-1892)

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Claudius Popelin (1825-1892) was a French enameller, painter and writer who studied under Francois-Edouard Picot and Ary Scheffer.

Popelin began his career as a history painter, and from 1852 to 1862 he submitted paintings based on French and Italian Renaissance subjects to the Parisian Salon. From 1860, however, his study of the 16th Century inclined towards the decorative arts. Though initially producing faience, Popelin preferred the delicate technique of painting on enamel, which he learnt from Alfred Meyer (1832-1904). Popelin's innate ability for high quality painted enamel, and subsequent success, resulted in multiple orders from prestigious manufacturers such as Barbedienne. Soon, Popelin's enamels were used to decorate furniture, bronzes, silver and gold objects and bookbinding plates. From 1863, Popelin devoted the next thirty years to the art of enamelling. He liked to assemble several enamel plaques together within the same frame to develop a single allegorical or historical theme, and his work is now held in highly prestigious museums and collections across the world, such as the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

In addition to his famous artistic talents, Popelin was also an erudite bibliophile and poet, and was one of the circle of artists who met at the salons of Princess Mathilde Bonaparte.