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Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

(1836-1911), Poet, dramatist and librettist of the 'Savoy' operas

Sitter associated with 12 portraits
Gilbert's military ambitions were frustrated by the end of the Crimean War in 1856 and, having been called to the bar in 1863, he experienced little success as a lawyer and abandoned it for literature. His mastery of witty humour and satire was honed during the 1860s by his contributions to Fun magazine. He wrote numerous plays, sketches and stories. His name is irrevocably linked with Sir Arthur Sullivan, for whose music he wrote the libretti of the 'Savoy' operas, among them HMS Pinafore, 1878, Iolanthe, 1882, The Mikado, 1885, and The Yeoman of the Guard, 1888. He built the Garrick Theatre with the profits from his plays.

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Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, by Harry Furniss - NPG 3452

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

by Harry Furniss
pen and ink, 1880s-1900s
NPG 3452

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, by Harry Furniss - NPG 3453

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

by Harry Furniss
pen and ink, 1880s-1900s
NPG 3453

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, by Harry Furniss - NPG 3574

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

by Harry Furniss
pen and ink, 1880s-1900s
NPG 3574

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, by Francis Montague ('Frank') Holl - NPG 2911

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

by Francis Montague ('Frank') Holl
oil on canvas, 1886
On display in Room 28 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 2911

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, by Walery, published by  Sampson Low & Co - NPG Ax9127

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

by Walery, published by Sampson Low & Co
carbon print, published April 1889
NPG Ax9127

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, by Herbert Rose Barraud, published by  Eglington & Co - NPG Ax5508

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

by Herbert Rose Barraud, published by Eglington & Co
carbon print, published 1890
NPG Ax5508

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, by Unknown photographer, copied by  Walter Stoneman - NPG x188193

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

by Unknown photographer, copied by Walter Stoneman
whole-plate glass copy negative, copied April 1948 (1890s)
NPG x188193

Members of the cast of 'Iolanthe' and others, by and after Elliott & Fry - NPG Ax139921

Members of the cast of 'Iolanthe' and others

by and after Elliott & Fry
bromide print, 1890s
NPG Ax139921

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, by Elliott & Fry - NPG x127431

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

by Elliott & Fry
chlorobromide print on cream card mount, 1891
NPG x127431

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert ('Men of the Day. No. 244.'), by Sir Leslie Ward - NPG D44013

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert ('Men of the Day. No. 244.')

by Sir Leslie Ward
chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair 21 May 1881
NPG D44013

Web image not currently available

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

by Walery, published by Sampson Low & Co
carbon print, published April 1889
NPG x9128

Web image not currently available

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

by Elliott & Fry
half-plate negative, 1891
NPG x81975

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