Throughout the eighteenth century History Painting, in England and France, was considered the highest form of art. The first half of the nineteenth century saw the rise of the historical novel, through the writings of Walter Scott (1771 1832), disseminated throughout Europe. In France this new vogue was exemplified by the plays and novels of authors like Alexander Dumas (1802 1870) with his "Henry III'' or "The Three Musketeers".
In the mid-nineteenth century in England the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and their highly romanticized view of the past continued this widespread interest. This interest in the past led to the development of a new genre of history painting. Foremost in this genre was Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier (1815 1891) whose meticulously researched and detailed compositions of an idealized view of the past paved the way for the likes of Adolphe Alexandre Lesrel.
Lesrel was born 19th May 1839 in Genets; greatly influenced by Meissonier, an artist whose popularity extended throughout Europe and the United States, Lesrel adopted his highly detailed and finished style. Costume, gowns, objets d'art, furniture, all were researched to ensure the historical accuracy of his work.
Lesrel exhibited at the Societaire des Artistes Francais in 1885, and in 1889 received an honorable mention. In 1890 he became an Associate of the Salon Nationale des Beaux Arts. Lesrel's historical scenes, an idealized and romantic interpretation, found a ready market in France, England and the United States. This popularity has remained unchecked; his subject matter and technical virtuosity of his brushwork ensures his continuing popularity.
His works can he found in museums in: Nantes; Rouen; Sydney and New York.