NPG 1833 (1c)

 

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

a bridge and pointing to the vista seen through the arch exclaimed "There! did you ever see anything like that. Did you ever see such glorious purple?" They rubbed their sleepy eyes and gazed, but could see no purple.

Mr Holman Hunt was also an interesting talker. One of his anecdotes I remember referred to his travels in the Holy Land. He told me that he was once taken prisoner by a band of brigands, he felt no fear, but was much interested in listening to their debating as to whether they should kill him or not: but as it happened he lived to tell the tale.

In a picture like this there is extreme delicacy as to who ought to be placed by who. Perhaps to posterity this is not important but at the time it has to be considered. You could hardly take any figure out of this group and replace it by someone else without losing something. Neither could you change their positions without loss. Taking the position occupied by Miss Margot Tennant (Mrs Asquith) I designed this position for her, but could never get a sitting, she was always hunting or doing something in different parts of the country; tired with waiting and anxious to get on with the picture I thought I would try to get some other lady, but out of all the ladies in the British Isles there was not one, politically & socially, who could fill the place so well as Miss Tennant. So I had to implore her to come and sit to me: This she eventually found time to do and a very charming sitter I found her.

The picture was painted in a studio at West Kensington overlooking the Queen's Club whose playing fields were then being laid out