Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), Painter, sculptor and etcher

Artist; born 8 May 1837, at Dijon, France. Studied at the École Impériale Spéciale de Dessin et de Mathémathiques (‘Petite École’), Paris, early 1850s, and École des Beaux-Arts 1855–7; with Henri Fantin-Latour and James McNeill Whistler formed the anti-Salon ‘Société des Trois’ 1858; friendship with Whistler introduced him to England, where he settled 1863; married Frances Rosetta Hodgson 1864, became naturalized 1880 but never learnt English; appointed professor at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London 1876 and taught by demonstration, emphasizing draughtsmanship and introducing etching and sculpture classes;[1] founder member of the Society of Painter-Etchers 1880; ‘Vingt ans de perdus’ was his wry comment on retirement from the Slade in 1893; died 8 December 1911 at Watford.

A thick-set figure of medium height, with a massive head, slightly bald, black curling hair and beard, and of a rather sombre and lowering expression, he would have been more useful as a teacher if he could have spoken English […] He superseded the stumped and fully shaded drawing … by delicate line work with pale grey Italian chalk; and he started us in etching on copper […] He had a trenchant wit, and several of his sayings became historical; when for instance, after he had married an English wife and naturalised himself as a British subject, a fellow-countryman protested and asked, after all, what he had gained by the change? ‘D’abord’, said he, ‘j’ai gagné la bataille de Waterloo.’[2]

There is a MS biography of Alphonse Legros by Noel Clément-Janin at the Bibliothèque d'Art et d'Archéologie, Paris. For the translation into English, see the Harold Wright Archive, Glasgow (typescript, MS Wright, University of Glasgow Special Collections).

Footnotesback to top

1) For an account of his teaching see C.J. Weeks, ‘Women at Work: the Slade Girls’, MA, 1883, pp.324–9; reprinted Denvir 1986, pp.61–4.
2) Jacomb-Hood 1925, p.11.

Referencesback to top

Alley 1959
Alley, R., Tate Gallery: The Foreign Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London, 1959.

Attwood 1984
Attwood, P., ‘The Medals of Alphonse Legros’, The Medal, vol.5, 1984, pp.7–23.

Attwood 1992
Attwood, P., Artistic Circles: The Medal in Britain 1880–1918, exh. cat., British Museum, London, 1992.

Beattie 1983
Beattie, S.,The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983.

Beraldi 1885–92
Beraldi, H., Les Graveurs du XIXe siècle: Guide de l’amateur d’estampes modernes, 12 vols, Paris, 1885–92.

Bilbey & Trusted 2002
Bilbey, D., and M. Trusted, British Sculpture 1470–2000: A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2002.

Bliss 1922
A Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings, Etchings and Lithographs by Professor Alphonse Legros from the Collection of Frank E. Bliss, exh. cat., Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1922.

Bliss 1923
Bliss, F.E., Catalogue of the Etchings, Drypoints and Lithographs by Professor Alphonse Legros in the collection of Frank E Bliss, with a preface by Campbell Dodgson, printed for private circulation, London, 1923.

Bowness 1970
Bowness, A., Rodin: Sculpture and Drawings, exh. cat., Hayward Gallery, London, 1970.

Butler, Glover Lindsay et al. 2000
Butler, R., S. Glover Lindsay, and others, European Sculpture of the Nineteenth Century, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue, Washington, DC, 2000.

Denker 1995
Denker, E., In Pursuit of the Butterfly: Portraits of James McNeill Whistler, exh. cat., National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, 1995.

Denvir 1986
Denvir, B., The Late Victorians: Art, Design and Society 1852–1910, London, 1986.

Dreyfous 1903
Dreyfous, M., Dalou: sa vie et son oeuvre, Paris, 1903.

Druick & Hoog 1983
Druick, D., and M. Hoog, Henri Fantin-Latour, exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1983.

Fredeman 2002–10
Fredeman, W.E., ed., The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 9 vols, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2002–10.

Gallatin 1918
Gallatin, A.E., Portraits of Whistler: A Critical Study and an Iconography, London and New York, 1918.

Gernsheim 1969
Gernsheim, H., Lewis Carroll: Victorian Photographer, New York, 1969 (originally issued 1949).

Hacking 2000
Hacking, J., Princes of Victorian Bohemia: Photographs by David Wilkie Wynfield, exh. cat., NPG, London, 2000.

Holroyd 1912
Holroyd, C., ‘Legros, Alphonse (1837–1911)’, DNB, London, 1912.

Jacomb-Hood 1925
Jacomb-Hood, P., With Brush and Pencil, London, 1925.

Juillien 1909
Juillien, A., Fantin-Latour: sa vie et ses amitiés, lettres inédites et souvenirs personnels, Paris, 1909.

Lampert, Romain et al. 2006
Lampert, C., A. Romain, and others, Rodin, exh. cat., Royal Academy, London, 2006.

Legros 1912
Catalogue of Loan Collection of Works by Alphonse Legros, exh. cat., National Gallery of British Art [Tate Gallery], 1912.

Legros 1974
Alphonse Legros, exh. cat., Taranman Gallery, London, 1974.

Maas 1984
Maas, J., The Victorian Art World in Photographs, London, 1984.

McColl 1912
McColl, D.S., intro., Loan Exhibition of Works by Alphonse Legros, exh. cat., Manchester City Art Gallery, 1912.

O’Donoghue 1908–22
O’Donoghue, F., Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, 5 vols, 1908–22 (and vol.6, Supplement and indexes, 1925).

Pennell & Pennell 1898
Pennell, J., and E.R. Pennell, Lithography and Lithographers, London, 1898.

Poulet-Malassis & Thibaudeau 1877
Poulet-Malassis, A., and Thibaudeau, A.W., Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre gravé et lithographié de M. Alphonse Legros 1855–77, Paris, 1877.

Rothenstein 1926
Rothenstein, J., The Portrait Drawings of William Rothenstein 1889–1925, London, 1926.

Rothenstein 1898a
Rothenstein, W., English Portraits, London, 1898.

Rothenstein 1898b
Rothenstein, W., The French Set: Portraits of Rodin, Fantin La Tour and Legros, London, 1898.

Rothenstein 1931–2
W. Rothenstein, Men and Memories: Recollections of William Rothenstein, 2 vols, London, 1931–2.

Soulier & Legros 1904
Soulier, G., and L. Legros, L’Oeuvre gravé et lithographié de Alphonse Legros, exh. cat., galeries Charles Hessèle, Paris, 1904.

Strang 1912
William Strang: Catalogue of his Etched Work 1882–1912, 2 vols, Glasgow, 1912.

Strang 1962
Strang, D., William Strang RA LlD: Catalogue of his Etchings and Engravings, Glasgow, 1962 [incorporating all previous catalogues].

Taylor 1985
Taylor, R.N., ed., Lewis Carroll at Texas, Austin, 1985.

Wilcox 2004
Wilcox, T., ‘Legros, Alphonse (1837–1911)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; online ed., May 2008.

Wright 1934
Wright, H.J.L., The Etchings, Drypoints and Lithographs of Alphonse Legros, 1837–1911, London, 1934.

Young, Macdonald & Spencer 1980
Young, A.M., M. MacDonald and R. Spencer, with H. Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, New Haven and London, 1980.