The Hector Berlioz Website

Berlioz Photo Album : Family

Unless otherwise stated all pictures on Berlioz Photos pages have been scanned from engravings, paintings, postcards and other publications in our own collection. All rights of reproduction reserved.

Section 1: Parental family

Here are portraits of some members of Berlioz’s parental family. See also Berlioz family tree in our La Côte Saint-André pages. Unless otherwise stated, the original copies of the pictures in this section are in the Hector Berlioz Museum, La Côte Saint-André.

See also on this site Letters of the composer’s family at the Hector Berlioz Museum (in French, with introduction in English), which includes a large number of letters of individuals whose portraits are shown below: Dr Louis-Joseph Berlioz (5 letters), Nancy Pal (28 letters), Camille Pal (10 letters), Adèle Suat (122 letters), Marc Suat (4 letters), Monique Nety (1 letter), Félix Marmion (18 letters), Joséphine Suat (10 letters), Nancy Suat (17 letters), Harriet Smithson (3 letters) and Marie Recio (2 letters). The Museum also has a large collection of letters of Hector Berlioz himself and his son Louis, which are not reproduced on this site.


Louis-Joseph Berlioz, Hectors grandfather (1747-1815)

Louis-Joseph Berlioz


Berlioz’s grandfather was born in the family home at La Côte Saint-André.
The above picture is courtesy of Alexandre Moulin et al., La Côte Saint André en Isère (Gillonnay: Alexandre Moulin, 2005).


Dr Louis-Joseph Berlioz, Hector’s father (1776-1848)

Louis-Joseph Berlioz

This portrait is attributed to Berlioz’s father in 1802, at the age of 26. The young Dr Berlioz married Mlle Marie-Antoinette-Joséphine Marmion at Meylan, near Grenoble, on 7 February 1803. The couple lived in his home at La Côte Saint-André where their first son Hector was born on 11 December 1803.
The above picture is courtesy of Alexandre Moulin et al., La Côte Saint André en Isère (Gillonnay: Alexandre Moulin, 2005).


Dr Berlioz c. 1840

Dr Berlioz


Nanci Pal, Hector’s elder sister (1806-1850)


Nanci was three years younger than Berlioz but was the older of his two surviving sisters.

Coloured lithograph by V. Cassien 
[Victor Désiré Cassien (1808-1893)]


The above picture is scanned from an exhibition catalogue entitled, Hector Berlioz, L’aventure musicale. Une exposition. de la Bibliothèque municipale de Grenoble, 13 septembre-15 novembre, 2003 (facing page 69). An original copy of the lithograph is in the Bibliothéque municipale de Grenoble. Inventory: Pd.1 Berlioz (Nanci). 
Our two copies of this catalogue have been donated to the Hector Berlioz Museum.

Notice of death and funeral of Camille Pal, Nanci's husband in 1879 


(Large view)

Adèle Suat, Hector’s younger sister (1814-1860)


She lived with her husband Marc Suat and her two daughters, Joséphine and Nanci, in Vienne near La Côte Saint André.


Adèle Suat



Marc Suat, Adèle’s husband (1799-1869)

Marc Suat

Marc Suat, a lawyer in Saint-Chamond, married Adèle on 2 April 1839. The couple and their children moved to Vienne in May 1845.
The above picture is courtesy of the Hector-Berlioz Museum in La Côte-Saint-André.


Monique Nety (1792-1857)


Madame Nety was Berlioz family’s much-loved housekeeper, and was in their service until her death in 1857.
Madame Nety’s photo and Adèle Suat’s second picture are courtesy of  H Berlioz, épisodes de la vie d’un artiste (Grenoble, Glénat / Musée Hector Berlioz, 2003), edited by Madame Chantal Spillemaecker, former director of the Musée Hector-Berlioz; we are most grateful to her.

Colonel Félix Marmion, Berlioz’s maternal uncle (1787-1869)

Félix Marmion


Mathilde Pal, Nanci’s daughter (1833-1903)



Joséphine Suat, Adèle’s elder daughter (1840-1919)


Joséphine was married to Auguste Chapot, but she was a widow when she attended with her two sons the inauguration of Berlioz’s monument in Monaco in 1903.


Nanci Suat, Adèle’s younger daughter (1842-1880)

Nanci Suat

The original copies of the photos of Berlioz’s nieces are in the collection of the Association nationale Hector Berlioz, based on the premises of the Berlioz Museum. 


Section 2: Marital family

2.1 Harriet Constance Smithson (1800-1854), Berlioz’s first wife

Berlioz first saw Harriet Smithson in September 1827 at the Théâtre de l’Odéon playing in Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, in the roles of Ophelia and Juliet respectively. Berlioz and Miss Smithson married on 3 October 1833 at the British Embassy in Paris. Berlioz always called her Henriette; she was his Ophelia. Their marriage ended in separation in 1844 (Memoirs chapter 51).

Harriet died on 3 March 1854 at her own home at  no. 12 Rue Saint-Vincent in Montmartre, not far from the house where she and Berlioz lived at the beginning of their married life over 20 years earlier. She was buried in Saint-Vincent Cemetery and later in 1864, as a result of the plans for restructuring of the cemetery, her remains were moved to Montmartre Cemetery.

Harriet Smithson in 1819 

Harriet Smithson

The above engraving is by I. Thomson from an original painting by Rose Emma Drummand. It was published in London by John Bell in April 1919.


Harriet Smithson in 1819

Harriet Smithson

 This engraving is by Hopwood after a painting by Rose Emma Drummand.

Harriet Smithson in 1820

Harriet Smithson

An original copy of this engraving is in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.


Harriet Smithson

The above picture was published in The Musical Quarterly, vol. 35, no. 4, October 1949 (facing page 552). The original painting is by the British portrait painter George Clint (1800-1854). 
See also elsewhere on our site an original colour portrait of Harriet Smithson, also by George Clint. That painting was acquired by us in 2015 for the benefit of  the Musée Hector-Berlioz.  


Harriet Smithson in 1827

Harriet Smithson

This lithograph is by Devéria, published in a 19th century book in our collection. A copy exists in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris and another in the Musée Hector-Berlioz.


Harriet Smithson in c. 1828

Harriet Smithson

The above mezzotint is by G Maile, after an oil painting by Claude-Marie Dubufe. The original painting is in the Musée Magnin in Dijon, France.


Harriet Smithson c. 1834

Harriet Smithson

The original copy of the above painting is in a private collection.

A few months before Harriet Smithson appeared at the Théâtre de l’Odéon in Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, she had played the role of Zamora in Honey Moon at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London. The following poster announces the details. 


Honey Moon at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
30 June 1827



Honey Moon at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane – close up view



2.2 Marie-Geneviève Martin, alias Marie Recio (1814-1862), Berlioz’s second wife 

Berlioz and Marie married on 19 October 1854 in the Trinity Church in Paris. Berlioz wrote to his son Louis at the time that it was his duty to do so. Miss Recio, a singer, had been his mistress for over a decade. Marie died in 1862. Both Marie and Harriet are buried with Berlioz at the Montmartre Cemetery.

Young Marie Recio

Marie Recio

© Musée Hector-Berlioz

The above portrait is part of a legacy to the Musée Hector-Berlioz by the Reboul family (descendents of Berlioz’s sister Nancy). We are most grateful to the Museum for granting us permission to reproduce it on this page.


Marie Recio

A copy of this photo is in the Musée Hector-Berlioz.


Marie Recio

The above engraving is made after the aforementioned photo. The image has been scanned from Adolphe Jullien’s biography of Berlioz, Hector Berlioz, sa vie et ses œuvres (Paris, 1888). 


2.3. Louis-Thomas Berlioz (1834-1867), Hector’s son

Berlioz’s only child, named after his father Dr Louis Berlioz, was born on 14 August 1834. Berlioz’s younger sister Adèle and his friend Gounet were Louis’ godparents. As a young man Louis joined the merchant navy and rose to the rank of commander. One of the ships under his command was La Louisiane. He died on 5 June 1867 of yellow fever while on duty at Havana. His death dealt a devastating blow to his father. 


Louis Berlioz

A copy of the above lithograph, dated around 1863-64, is in the Musée Hector-Berlioz. 



© (unless otherwise stated) Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin for all the texts and images on Berlioz Photo Album pages.
All rights of reproduction reserved.


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