Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

John Seymour Lucas (1849-1923), Historical and portrait painter

Painter; born 21 December 1849, in London, nephew of portrait painter John Lucas. Early training as a woodcarver; entered Royal Academy Schools 1871;[1] married Marie Elizabeth Cornelissen, artist, 1877; specialized in historical genre scenes (After Culloden – rebel hunting, exh. RA 1884; bought for Tate through Chantrey Bequest); elected ARA 1886, RA 1898; admired for ‘learnedness’ and ‘rich colours of his decorative interiors’ (1891); ‘as an historian antiquary he is held in such high esteem that he has dressed two plays for Sir Henry Irving’;[2] prolific exhibitor of genre and portraits at RA 1872–1921; died 8 May 1923, at Southwold, Suffolk.

Lucas was always heart and soul in any sort of ‘lark,’ and spared few of his friends from his harmless practical jokes. As a student of the Academy he was always first and foremost in ‘rags’ worthy of St Bartholomew’s or Guy’s. It is difficult to picture the staid R.A. of later years leading a gang of students up the middle of Piccadilly, beating time to their song with a maulstick![3]

Footnotesback to top

1) Fea 1927, pp.177–9 passim.
2) Vanity Fair, 14 Dec. 1899, p.405.
3) Fea 1927, p.187. For further biographical references see Lane & Browne 1906; Who Was Who 1916–28; Connoisseur, vol.66, 1923, p.14 (obits); and Wood 1995.

Referencesback to top

Fea 1927
Fea, A., Recollections of Sixty Years, London, 1927.

Jones et al. 1996
Jones, S., and others, Frederic Leighton 1830–1896, exh. cat., Royal Academy, London, 1996.

Lane & Browne 1906
Lane, W.C., and N.E. Browne, eds, A.L.A. [American Library Association] Portrait Index, Washington, DC, 1906.

London 1907–9
Prominent Men of London, Shaftesbury Press, London, 1907–9.

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

Ormond & Ormond 1975
Ormond, L., and R. Ormond, Lord Leighton, London, 1975.

Ormond & Kilmurray 2003
Ormond, R., and E. Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent: The Later Portraits, New Haven and London, 2003.

Salisbury 1953
Salisbury, F.O., Sarum Chase, London, 1953.

Swanson 1977
Swanson, V.G., Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema: Painter of the Victorian Vision of the Ancient World, London, 1977.

Wood 1995
Wood, C., Victorian Painters, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1995.

Uglow 2011
Uglow, N., ‘Lucas, John Seymour (1849-1923)’, ODNB, Oxford, online ed., May 2011.