The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Jean-Sylvain Van de Weyer

Jean-Sylvain Van de Weyer

A carte-de-visite portrait of the Belgian politician Jean-Sylvain Van de Weyer (1802-1874) who served as the Belgian Minister to the Court of St James’s, effectively the Belgian ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Van de Weyer was born in Louvain (Leuven) in 1802 but his family relocated to Amsterdam in 1811. The family later returned to Leuven when his father, Josse-Alexandre (1769–1838), was named police commissioner for the city. Jean-Sylvain studied law at the State University of Louvain and set up as a lawyer in Brussels in 1823. He frequently defended newspapers and journalists who had fallen foul of the government of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, of which modern Belgium then formed the southern half.

On the outbreak of the Belgian Revolution in 1830, Van de Weyer was in Leuven but hurried to Brussels where he became a member of the central committee of the Provisional Government of Belgium. His command of the English language resulted in him serving as a diplomatic representative of the revolutionaries and King Leopold I appointed Van de Weyer his ‘special representative’ in London. Van de Weyer served as the eighth Prime Minister of Belgium (1845-1846) but subsequently returned to England as Belgian minister.

In 1839 he married Elizabeth Anne Sturgis Bates, only daughter of Joshua Bates of Barings Bank, and formerly of Boston. They had two sons and five daughters, who were brought up in Marylebone and on their parent’s country estate at New Lodge in Berkshire.

Photographed by the Southwell Brothers of London.


Code: 125578
  Back           Home Contact   
© Paul Frecker 2019