NPG 1833 (1a)

 

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Handwritten account, (1914), of the painting by Henry Jamyn Brooks.
  Account

The Dilettante
or
The Private View at the ...th Winter Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts Burlington House generally called The Old Masters Exhibition

In 18 . . (?) I was painting a portrait of Mr Thomas Brock A.R.A. now Sir Thomas Brock R.A. which was subsequently hung at the Royal Academy. I was also engaged upon a picture representing a group of Yachtsmen which unfortunately did not lend itself to Artistic treatment. During one of the sittings, Mr Brock and I were talking about Mr Frith's group representing a Private View at the Royal Academy. I observed that I would like to try my skill and see whether I could produce an Artistic picture of some similar scene. Mr Brock suggested a picture of the Private View at the Old Masters Exhibition. I thought this an excellent subject possessing great artistic possibilities. "The best person to see" said Mr Brock "and the one who can render you the greatest assistance is Mr J.C. Horsley R.A."

I accordingly made a design in oils and took it to Mr Horsley with an introduction from Mr Brock. Mr Horsley was pleased with the design and forthwith entered heartily into the matter, in fact, almost everyone in the picture was included in accordance with the advice of Mr Horsley.

Of course it is well known that such a picture as this is never painted now entirely from life sittings, but that photography is used to save time and spare the patience of those invited to form the group. Having by advice of Mr Horsley decided upon the position of each person in the picture, and given to each figure