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Product Details

Marquis de Lafayette & Alligator

Original, oil on board, signed on reverse

Painting Size: 30 x 21 cm (12 x 8" )

Frame options:

Black with mount - frame size: 42 cm x 33 cm

Oak with mount - frame size: 42 cm x 33 cm

White with mount - frame size: 42 cm x 33 cm

Read more about our Framing Workshop here

The Story

The Shop Floor Project has commissioned British artist Raphael Balme to create a series of oil paintings which celebrate historical figures with their exotic pets and, in the case of Virginia Woolf, their alter egos. The collection includes; Frida Kahlo & Fawn, King John & Polar bear, Empress Josephine & Orangutan plus Mozart & Starling among others... 

Marquis de Lafayette & Alligator

Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette received many gifts during his American tour in 1824, but probably none more unusual than an alligator.

Accompanied, by his son, Georges Washington de La Fayette, the French general, who had championed the American ideals of freedom in France, traveled more than 6,000 miles via stagecoach, canal barge and steamboat during his visit. He was greeted along the way with parades, dinners and parties.

The Marquis gifted the alligator to President John Adams who then housed the gator in the White House’s unfinished East Room and its nearby bathtub. Sources report that Adams enjoyed showing the animal to disbelieving White House visitors for several months before it moved to a different home.


A new collection of original paintings by British artist Raphael Balme. A graduate of Chelsea College of Arts, Balme’s work plays with colour and pattern. Drawing on folk art motifs, she makes dream-like landscapes and portraits featuring fictional characters from duchesses to clowns. This latest collection is inspired by Balme's recent work on the frescoes in the old chapel at Villa Pozzolo in Tuscany. 

A picture of the artist's studio (taken by her good friend and fellow artist Mark Hearld)

Balme takes inspiration from many places, on her studio wall is a picture of this old chest, painted with mermaids and flowers.

Raphael recently worked on a new fresco at an ancient villa in Tuscany. "Villa Pozzolo was bought as a wreck by Niko Von Glasow, a film director and an old friend. The family are eccentric, daring entrepreneurs, connecting people, taking risks, with friends all over the world, when they invited me to go and be involved in painting the fresco in the chapel on the estate I jumped at it, although its’s an on going project. The house is completely magical and inspiring - a lot of my new work, particularly colours,  is directly influenced by time spent there. "

Balme's home and studio is filled with inspiration for her paintings...