Selected archive documents relating to Victorian portraits

Michael Faraday
by Thomas Phillips
1841-1842
NPG 269

Letter from Michael Faraday to Thomas Phillips, dated 27 March 1841, regarding the arrangements for sitting.

Letter from the wife of John Britton to Sir George Scharf, dated 27 July 1882, offering to donate the portrait of her husband to the National Portrait Gallery together with her collection of engravings and autographs.

Benjamin Robert Haydon
by Benjamin Robert Haydon
circa 1845
NPG 268

Letter from B.R. Haydon to William Seguier, dated 1842, responding to the accusation that he quarrels 'with all Men who are most disposed to serve me'.

Letter from Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton to Partridge, undated, postponing his sitting. Letter from Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne to Partridge, undated, arranging a sitting. Letter from George Hamilton Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen, to the artist, dated 26 October 1844, giving his consent to sit and arranging the first appointment. Letter from John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, to Partridge, undated, apologising for failing to make his appointment. Letter from William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne to Partridge, dated 8 November 1848, agreeing to the proposed sitting. A stamped addressed envelope addressed to John Partridge Esq, London. Letter from Thomas Babington Macauley, Baron Macauley, to Partridge, dated 21 February 1849, arranging appointment to sit. Letter from Sir Charles Barry to Partridge, dated 5 May 1849, arranging sittings. Letter from Henry Pelham Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle, (then Earl of Lincoln), to Partridge, dated 20 July 1849, arranging a sitting. Letter from Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount, to Partridge, dated 7 February 1850, giving him instructions about how to enter the House of Commons. Letter from Sir Benjamin Hawes to Partridge, dated 27 April 1859, postponing a sitting.

Letter from restorer to Sir George Scharf, dated 12 July 1893, stating that the condition of the portrait of Aberdeen is so poor that they may lose it altogether.

Letter from Frederick Sandys to 'Dear Sir', 20 December 18??, stating that he has mistakenly been served with a bankruptcy order.

Wilkie Collins
by Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt
1850
NPG 967

Letter from Millais to Sir George Scharf, dated 2 September 1894, confirming that he painted both the portrait of Carlyle and that of Wilkie Collins recently offered to the National Portrait Gallery.

Pamphlet issued by the dealer Henry Graves to accompany the publication of the engraving after the portrait of the Arctic Council. Letter from Pearce to Lionel Cust, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, dated 9 January 1899, arranging a meeting. Letter from artist to Sir George Scharf, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, dated 16 December 1871, giving an account of his life.

Mary Russell Mitford
by John Lucas, after Benjamin Robert Haydon
circa 1853, based on a work of 1824
NPG 404

Letter from Mary Mitford to John Lucas, undated (probably 1830-1), thanking him for the prints he has sent and discussing portraits and printsellers.

Alexander Stewart
by Stephen Pearce
exhibited 1854
NPG 1220

Letter from sister of Alexander Stewart, dated 29 February 1904, giving a biographical account of her brother.

George Cruikshank
by William Behnes
circa 1855
NPG 1300

Handwritten memo, dated 26 October 1923, stating that one of the floor polishers had slipped and knocked the head off the bust.

Robert Browning
by Michele Gordigiani
1858
NPG 1898

Memorandum from Sophia May Eckley to Robert Browning, dated 3 January 1869, making an official statement of her intention to leave the Gordigiani portraits of the Brownings to their son.

Letter from Ellen Heaton to Robert Browning, dated 18 March 1868?, noting her wish to leave Talfourd's portrait of Elizabeth Barrett Browning to the National Portrait Gallery.

William Ewart Gladstone
by George Frederic Watts
1859
NPG 1126

Letter from Gladstone to Watts, dated 20 June 1859, cancelling a sitting because of his commitments.

Letter from Shaftesbury to Watts, dated 26 March 1862, arranging a sitting.

George Frederic Watts
by Julia Margaret Cameron
1864
NPG P215

Letter from Watts to Cameron, undated (1865?), assessing her recent photographs. Letter from Watts to Cameron, undated (1865?), assessing her recent photographs. Letter from Watts to Cameron, undated (1864?), assessing her recent photographs and Tennyson's recent poems. Letter from Watts to Cameron, undated (1864?), acknowledging receipt of her photographs.

George Frederic Watts
by Julia Margaret Cameron
circa 1865-1869
NPG P125

Letter from Watts to Cameron, 21 June 1865, giving an assessment of her recent photographs. Letter from Watts to Cameron, undated (probably 1864/5), giving a negative assessment of her recent photographs. Letter from Watts to Cameron, undated (possibly 1865) giving an assessment of her photographs and advising her to study the technique of David Wilkie Wynfield. Letter from Watts to Cameron, dated 19 February 1872, giving an assessment of her recent photographs and advice on how to improve.

Edwin Landseer
by John Ballantyne
circa 1865
NPG 835

Letter from Sir Edwin Landseer to Viscount Hardinge, dated 27 January 1866, discussing his current work, including the lions for Trafalgar Square, and his decision to decline the Chair of President of the Royal Academy.

John Stuart Mill
by John & Charles Watkins, or by John Watkins
1865
NPG P46

Letter from Harriet Mill to G. Scharf, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, dated 22 September 1886, discussing the portrait of her husband at length. Letter from Harriet Mill to Scharf, dated 15 February 1887, giving further information about the portrait.

Robert Browning
by George Frederic Watts
1866
NPG 1001

Letter from Browning to Watts, dated 12 July 1889, thanking the artist for the 'beautiful photograph'.

Thomas Carlyle
by George Frederic Watts
1868
NPG 1002

Letter from Carlyle to Watts, dated 1 July 1868, regarding sitting to the artist.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson
by Julia Margaret Cameron
3 June 1869
NPG P9

Fragment of letter from the artist G.F. Watts to Cameron, undated, assessing Cameron's recent photographs of Tennyson.

Letter from Julia Margaret Cameron to Sir John Herschel, dated 31 December 1864, discussing her aspirations as a photographer.

Richard Cobden
by Lowes Cato Dickinson
1870, based on a work of 1861
NPG 316

Letter from Richard Baxter of the Reform Club to Sir George Scharf, dated 6 June 1870, explaining how and why the club came to commission Dickinson to make the portrait of Cobden. Letter from Dickinson to Sir George Scharf, dated 12 September 1870, remarking on a recent visit to the National Portrait Gallery.

James Martineau
replica by George Frederic Watts
1873, based on a work of 1873
NPG 1251

Letter from Alfred Tennyson to Watts, dated 27 December 1872, telling the artist that he and other friends of James Martineau desire that Martineau should be painted by the artist.

John Stuart Mill
replica by George Frederic Watts
1873
NPG 1009

Letter from J.S. Mill to Watts, dated 13 March 1873, agreeing a time to sit.

Sir Henry Taylor
by George Frederic Watts
circa 1868-1870
NPG 1014

Letter from Julia Margaret Cameron to Watts, dated 3 December 1860, urging him to paint Taylor.

Thomas Carlyle
by Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt
1877
NPG 968

This portrait was attacked by a militant suffragette on 17 July 1914. This is the subpeona from Bow Street Police Court served on C.J. Holmes, director of the National Portrait Gallery, and dated 17 July 1914. A typed report by C.J. Holmes, dated 18 July 1914, in which he gives details of the incident.

A biographical account by W.M. Rossetti of John Polidori, his mother Francis Rossetti and his sister Christina sent to Lionel Cust, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, on 29 August 1895.

Matthew Arnold
by George Frederic Watts
1880
NPG 1000

Letter from Watts to Lionel Cust, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, dated 8 December 1895, speaking of his 'Hall of Fame' portraits. Letter from Arnold to Watts, dated 25 May (1880), arranging a time to call on the artist. Letter from Arnold to Watts, dated 15 April (1882), arranging a time to sit to the artist.

Joe Chamberlain
by Harry Furniss
1880s-1900s
NPG 3348

Caricature of Chamberlain by Furniss on the artist's headed note paper.

Frank Burnand
by Harry Furniss
1880s-1900s
NPG 3429

Letter from Furniss to 'My dear Reed', dated 2 March 1894, warning him to wary of Burnand.

Henry Edward Manning
by George Frederic Watts
1882
NPG 1008

Letter from Manning to Watts, dated 31 October 1881, claiming that the artist has made him look like a 'mild old gentleman'.

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley
by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, 1st Bt
1882
NPG 867

Letter from Boehm to Professor W.H. Flower, dated 16 April 1884, thanking him for the measurements of the figure of the late Dean Stanley.

Walter Crane
by George Frederic Watts
1891
NPG 1750

Letter from Mary Seton Watts to C.J. Holmes, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, dated 17 April 1915, giving an account of her husband's portrait of Crane and his theory of portraiture.

Cecil John Rhodes
by George Frederic Watts
1898
NPG 1407

Letter from Rhodes to Watts, dated 12 May 1898, announcing his wish to be painted by the artist. Letter from Rhodes to Mary Seton Watts, (possibly 1898), regarding his visit to the Watts's home and the didactic role which he envisages for the portrait. Letter from Lady Dorothy Stanley to Watts, dated 10 May 1898, comparing Cecil Rhodes to her husband Henry Morton Stanley.

Algernon Charles Swinburne
by Sir Robert Ponsonby Staples, Bt
1900
NPG 2217

Letter from Staples to H.M. Hake, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, dated 26 November 1928, describing the circumstances of the sitting.

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