c1810 Miniature Portrait of Touzi Twin Zébée Ann Rose
  • c1810 Miniature Portrait of Touzi Twin Zébée Ann Rose
  • c1810 Miniature Portrait of Touzi Twin Zébée Ann Rose
  • c1810 Miniature Portrait of Touzi Twin Zébée Ann Rose

c1810 Miniature Portrait of Touzi Twin Zébée Ann Rose



Product Description

A beautiful early 19th century miniature portrait of a beautiful girl with ‘gamine’ short hair, which would have been quite unusual in those days.

It is an oval painting of her head and shoulders on card. It is written in ink on the reverse: Zébée Ann Rose Touzi. It is covered in an oval glass, which fits inside a black lacquered frame with gilded brass fittings. Zébée and her sister Lucinde were the famous Touzi twins, which were plucked from obscurity and introduced into upper British Society. Later paintings show Zébée’s hair as long and curling in ringlets, which helps date this painting to quite soon after she was rescued. Zébée married General Alexander Gordon, the illegitimate son of the 4th Duke of Gordon. Her sister Lucinde married her adopted father Captain (later Admiral) Thomas Edward Symonds.

Zébée and her twin, Lucinde, were born on the island of San Domingo (now Haiti) in 1798. Their father, François Touzi, was a French Protestant who married Anne Careaud. At six years old the twins were sent to school in Baltimore when they were so young that they had to learn to read and write so they could keep in touch with their mother. She died of cancer four years later. In 1809 the British and Spanish were besieging the French garrison at San Domingo. François Touzi, desperately scavenging for food outside the city walls one night, was shot by the Spanish, leaving seven children under 16, one of them blind, to fend for themselves in a starving city under bombardment from the British fleet. Lucinde wrote her story in a private publication called ‘Les Jumelles’ in 1822. She describes selling what remained of their mothers pretty belongings from linens to porcelain. The house opposite was demolished by cannon fire and they ate cats, dogs and donkeys, even boiling their leather suitcases to make a meat broth. Eventually Lucinde, who was apparently the most attractive of the sisters, ran away to be ‘adopted’ by Madame Valette, a woman of colour who lived, unmarried, with a white man. Mme Valette secured a passage on an open boat for the dangerous crossing to Curaçao. It was intercepted by a British sloop. Captain Thomas Symonds was absolutely astounded to see a small white girl standing up amongst 70 ‘people of colour’ and praying aloud in French. He immediately transferred her onto his ship HMS Tweed. Eventually, when the siege was finally successful, Capt Symonds and Lucinde rescued Zébée, who was very emaciated. They were adopted by Captain Symonds and brought back to Lymington where they lived with his aunt at Newlands Manor and were educated at Stanwell House. The rest of the children were left behind and the twins never saw them again.

When they came of age at 16 (1815), Lucinde and Thomas Symonds married. On the 6th August 1822, Zébée married Major General Alexander Gordon (1794–1863), the illegitimate son of the Alexander Gordon, Fourth Duke of Gordon. Zébée appears to have died in 1874, in Middlesex. Nice historical painting.

Size: 9 x 13 x 1 cm (3 ½ x 5 1/8 x 3/8 inches)
Weight: 67 g


  • Shipping Weight: 0.4kgs
  • Worldwide shipping costs can be estimated by adding the item to your basket and clicking the Shipping Estimator.