This portrait depicts the second wife of Joseph Henri Charles Godin, a lumber merchant/clerk and manager at Alexander Baptist & Fils. Philomène Marchand was the daughter of Hyacinthe Marchand and Caroline Lottinville, originally from Champlain.

Philomène was the sister of Joseph Henri Charles Godin’s first wife, whose first names were Marie Olive. The latter died at age 33 on November 28, 1875, a few days after giving birth to a stillborn child on November 20, baptized by Dr. Georges-Stanislas Badeaux.

Philomène, who had already lived with her sister since at least 1871, married Joseph Henri Charles Godin on May 12, 1878, at the Trois-Rivières parish church. Philomène therefore continued to take care of her nieces and nephews as if they were her own children, including Henri, Eugène, Hector, Rosa, Édouard, Eugénie, and Cécile Godin. Philomène Marchand Godin died in 1907.

This pastel, long wrongly attributed to artist Adolphe Rho, a sculptor, portraitist, and painter (1839-1905), is instead the work of Joseph Marsal Samson, who had studied drawing with Mr. Rho. He signed “Rheault” until 1866.

We can trace J. M. Samson’s presence in Trois-Rivières from February 1879 to September 6, 1880. The Journal des Trois-Rivières teaches us that “he is in a condition to devote himself fully to his art” and that he is “an artist with a bright future.”

His studio was initially located on rue Niverville, then moved to the Bloc Dominion at 42, rue du Fleuve. We learn that at J. N. Godin’s shop, the portrait of Sir John (Alexander Macdonald), which is Samson’s work, could be seen.

The artist then seems to have left the region to settle in Montreal. In 1897, he received the commission to paint a large portrait of Msgr. Paul Bruchési, who was just consecrated as the new archbishop of Montreal. We also know that he painted the portrait of Msgr. Louis-Nazaire Bégin, the bishop of Quebec, in 1898.

Through marriage, Philomène Marchand Godin was also the grandmother of Dr. Conrad Godin, whose memory the museum honours by naming one of its galleries after him. Dr. Conrad Godin, a dentist and fervent lover of history, has made numerous donations to our museum.

Donation from Dr. Conrad Godin
Musée Pierre-Boucher Collection
1979 69 D