Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue
Frederick Brown (1851-1941), Painter and teacher
Self-portraitsback to top
Oil on canvas, 914 x 724mm, half-length, to front, standing, holding palette in right hand, brush in left; UCL Art Colls, LDUCS:PC5606. Exh. British Art 1910–16, Norwich Castle M., 1976 (6); repr. PCF (Slade and UCL) 2005, p.12.
Oil on canvas, 876 x 660mm, signed and dated ‘Oct 1926’, half-length, to front, standing, right hand on hip, wearing brown jacket, white shirt, red tie and grey cardigan, in his studio in Richmond, with paintings in background, including a small self-portrait of Gwen John, his former Slade School student (Tate, N05366); Ferens AG, Hull. Probably exh. NEAC 1926 winter (as ‘A Portrait’); probably repr. Artwork no.15, 1926–7.
Letters from Brown in Dept of Special Colls, U. of Glasgow refer to three self-portraits begun in 1926–7, one of which is presumably this work (see letter [v] cited below):
(i) to D.S. MacColl, 4 Nov. 1926. Brown thanks MacColl for his letter regarding his self-portrait. ‘I am under no delusion about it myself, it is the result of pertinacity & not of genius’; ref. GB 0247 MS MacColl B634.
(ii) to D.S. MacColl, 25 Nov. 1926. Brown thanks MacColl for his help in encouraging the Duveen Trust to purchase his [self] portrait for the Tate Gallery; he will probably spend the money on pictures, paints and drawings. He has spent most of his spare money buying Ethel Walker’s work, but has recently bought one of MacColl’s drawings; ref GB 0247 MS MacColl B635.
(iii) to D.S. MacColl, n.d. . Brown describes the self-portrait he has sent to the NEAC, and the problem of his failing eyesight. Mentions Alvaro Guevara’s exhibition at the Leicester G. (Paintings of Chile, 1926); ref. GB 0247 MS MacColl B681.
(iv) to D.S. MacColl, n.d. [1926–7]. Brown states he has no objection to his self-portrait going to South Africa temporarily. If the version of the self-portrait on which he is working at the moment is acceptable to the Trustees, he would present it to the Tate and let the other remain in South Africa; ref. GB 0247 MS MacColl B638.
(v) to D.S. MacColl, 20 Jan. 1927. Brown reports on the progress of the second version of his self-portrait which, although more solid and fuller in colour than the first, is ‘technically so badly done … (from the point of view of chemistry of colours, method of painting & so on)’, that he has decided to start afresh on a third version; ref. GB 0247 MS MacColl B639.
Oil on canvas, 930 x 660mm, three-quarter-length, to front, standing, right hand on hip, left hand holding brush, in studio with pictures in background; Tate, N04702. Exh. NEAC 1932 winter (129); RA 1933 (374, ‘Portrait of the Painter. Chantrey Work’); British Self-Portraits from Sickert to the Present Day, Arts Council touring exh., 1962 (11); and Sickert: The Painter and his Circle, Tate, 1971, pl.22; repr. Burlington Magazine, 1943, p.143(b).
Two letters from Brown in Dept of Special Colls, U. of Glasgow appear to refer to this work:
(i) to D.S. MacColl, 10 Nov. 1932. Brown is very glad to have MacColl’s approval of his self-portrait, although he feels it has not been hung to its best advantage in the gallery; ref. GB 0247 MS MacColl B642.
(ii) to D.S. MacColl, 30 Nov. 1932. Brown thanks MacColl for his congratulations: he is very glad that his self-portrait will soon hang in the RA; ref.GB 0247 MS MacColl B643.
Oil on canvas, 460 x 360mm, signed and dated, head-and-shoulders to front, wearing spectacles and wide-brimmed trilby hat; untraced. Probably exh. NEAC 1935 winter (29); repr. Sotheby’s, Modern British & Irish Paintings, 7 Mar. 1990 (274).
Four letters from Brown in Dept of Special Colls, U. of Glasgow appear to refer to this work:
(i) to D.S. MacColl, 21 Apr. 1935. Brown describes the problems he is encountering with his self-portrait. He has added to the letter what he describes as ‘an old man’s confessions on art’; ref. GB 0247 MS MacColl B648.
(ii) to D.S. MacColl, 9 June 1935. Brown explains his reluctance to send in the self-portrait to the NEAC, as he has already shown self-portraits there in recent years; ref. GB 0247 MS MacColl B650.
(iii) to D.S. MacColl, 13 June 1935. Brown will be pleased to exhibit his self-portrait if MacColl will confirm his first favourable impression of it. Mentions a recent visit to Philip Wilson Steer; ref. GB 0247 MS MacColl B651.
(iv) to D.S. MacColl, 25 Sept. 1935. Brown refers to the works he is exhibiting at the NEAC; ref. GB 0247 MS MacColl B655.
Brown exhibited self-portraits on two occasions: NEAC 1937 winter (263) and NEAC 1938 winter (278). Assuming these were two previously unexhibited works, they can be listed as untraced. No additional details have been discovered.
One self-portrait was posthumously exh. NEAC 1945 summer (144); this could have been any of the works listed above.
By other artistsback to top
Pencil and ink drawing, 254x 254mm, by Aubrey Beardsley, signed in monogram and inscr. ‘Fred / Brown / NEAC’, whole-length, profile to left, standing holding palette and brushes in right hand, left hand in pocket; Tate, N04235; repr. Beardsley 1904, p.77; Artwork, no.23, 1930, p.155; Brophy 1976, p.47.
Black chalk on paper by Philip Wilson Steer; see NPG 2816.
Pencil drawing and sepia wash on buff paper by Augustus John, inscr. ‘Portrait of Gwen with Fred Brown, at the Slade’, whole-length, profile to left, standing drawing on easel, Gwen John watching to right; priv. coll.
Pencil, chalk [or charcoal], pen, ink and watercolour drawing by William Orpen; see NPG 6345.
Pencil, pen, ink and watercolour drawing, 241 x 216mm, by William Orpen, inscr. in 1930 with back-reference to 1904, signed on mount by Brown and the other sitters, Augustus John, William Rothenstein, Henry Tonks, and Philip Wilson Steer, whole-length, profile to left, wearing frock coat and stiff collar, standing with others on edge of precipice; coll. Shane Grant, 2006. Repr. Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd, Number Three St James’s Street, Autumn 1996 (leaflet), p.19 (as ‘Crisis at the N.E.A.C’); Christie’s, Irish Sale, 19 May 2000 (180); McConkey 2006, fig.69, p.96.
Pencil and red chalk drawing, 190 x 260mm, by William Orpen, A Jury, signed and dated, half-length, profile to left, looking at canvas in group with Augustus John, Henry Tonks, William Rothenstein, and Philip Wilson Steer; untraced. Exh. Orpen and the Edwardian Era, Pyms G., London, 1987 (21, repr. p.61); repr. McConkey 2006, fig.66, p.91. This is a preliminary version of the 1909 oil (see below).
Oil on canvas by William Orpen; see NPG 2556.
Pencil and watercolour by Donald Graeme MacLaren: see NPG 2663.
Ink drawing by unidentified artist, ‘The Professor at the Dinner Table’, indecipherable signature, three-quarter-length, standing, wearing evening dress, at table with five seated figures; Hyman Kreitman Research Centre, Tate Britain, London. Repr. McConkey 2006, fig.3, p.23.
Oil on board, 444 x 381mm, by H. Lee, half-length, looking forwards, seated in sitting room, book in left hand, cigarette in right hand; exh. East Kent Art Society 1927 (label on reverse); priv. coll., offered to NPG by FAS, London, 1980.
Oil on canvas, 362 x 267mm, by Ethel Walker, head and shoulders, near-profile to right, in post-Impressionist style; Bradford AGM, 1947-084. Exh. NEAC 1930 winter (225).
Oil on canvas, 508 x 610mm, by Ronald Gray, three-quarter-length, near-profile to left, seated, in sitting room with paintings reflected in mirror; Slade School UCL, LDUCS:PC5483. Exh. NEAC 1945 summer (23); repr. as by D. Grey [sic] PCF (Slade and UCL) 2005, p.32, detail pl.vi.
Bronze, 326mm high, by Dora Gordine, dark reddish-brown patina, signed, cast by Valsuani, Paris, head only; Dorich House M., Kingston U., 1994.1. Exh. Leicester G., Nov. 1938 (32); RA 1940 (1541); SPP 1955 (15); ref. Black & Martin 2007, pp.51 and 240. Described on first exhibition as ‘a fine caught likeness’ (E. Newton, Sunday Times, 6 Nov. 1938, p.5); see also letter from D. Gordine to D.S. MacColl, May–Sept 1938, enclosing photograph, Dept of Special Colls, U. of Glasgow, GB 0247 MS MacColl G43.
This work marked Brown’s 87th birthday on 14 Mar. 1938 and was perhaps commissioned by the 50 friends who gathered for that occasion at the Greyhound Inn, Richmond. See letter from Francis Dodd to D.S. MacColl, Dept of Special Colls, U. of Glasgow, GB 0247 MS MacColl D111 and typed sheets and rough draft of MacColl’s speech, GB 0247 MS MacColl B661.
Photographsback to top
Photograph by unidentified photographer, ‘Professor Fred. Brown’, head-and-shoulders, profile to left, small moustache, wearing high stiff collar; repr. as vignette MA, Dec. 1892, p.144; the same image used reversed and overpainted for The Year’s Art 1893, facing p.28. Possibly taken at the time of his appointment to Slade School.
Photographs by George Charles Beresford, two known poses:
(a) platinotype, 150 x 190mm, head-and-shoulders to front, full head of hair plus moustache, wearing wing collar; NPG x4728.
(b) half-plate glass neg., 157 x 113mm , head-and-shoulders, profile to left; NPG x6448.
Photograph by unidentified photographer, whole-length, profile to right, seated at trestle table with 18 other men, the last NEAC jury at the Dudley G.; NEAC archive, Tate Britain, London. Repr. McConkey 2006, fig.1.
Photograph by unidentified photographer, ‘Slade School Picnic’, three-quarter-length, standing, arms crossed, wearing soft hat, in large group; repr. Liddiard 1975, facing p.32.
Snapshots by Ottoline Morrell, two known poses:
(a) 59 x 37mm, whole-length to front, standing in garden with other figures in background; NPG Ax140560.
(b) 62 x 41mm, half-length, profile to left, leaning forwards, landscape or sand-dunes behind; NPG Ax140605.
Dr Jan Marsh