Alexander Ionides a member of an Anglo-Greek family came to England in the 1820s to work in his father’s textile business. In 1833, he established his own textile trading company Ionides & Co. Ionides commissioned the family portrait to G. F. Watts to celebrate his growing family and success. By the early 1840s, Ionides was an established businessman and art patron. His art collection included works by leading Pre-Raphaelite painters such as Rossetti and Burne Jones. In this family portrait, we see Alexander Constantine and his wife Euterpe, with their four eldest children – Constantine Alexander (b.1833), Aglaia (b.1834), Luke Alexander (b. 1837), and Alexander Alexander (known as Aleco b. 1840). The two eldest children are dressed in Greek national costume marking the family’s pride in the newly established nation-state.
Featured image: George Frederick Watts, The Family of Alexander Constantine Ionides, oil on canvas, c. 1840, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum.