Noel Joseph Desenfans
Noel Desenfans (1744-1807) was born in Douai and educated at the universities of Douai and Paris. He came to London in 1769 as a language teacher and married Margaret Morris, the aunt of two of his pupils, in 1776 (see After Reynolds DPG627). Active as a picture dealer from the 1770s, in 1790-5 he was engaged in assembling a collection of old master paintings for the King of Poland. However, because of the King's enforced abdication in 1795, this was never delivered. After failing to persuade the Government to establish a British National Gallery, and finding himself unable to dispose of his collection on satisfactory terms, Desenfans bequeathed the pictures to his friend Sir Francis Bourgeois, who in turn bequeathed them to Dulwich College. (See also Unknown DPG503.) DPG28 is listed by Northcote among portraits painted in 1796 and is recorded in his account book for that year.