by Sir William Orpen
oil on canvas, exhibited 1900
39 in. x 37 in. (991 mm x 940 mm)
Given by the Art Fund, 1962
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- Augustus Edwin John (1878-1961), Painter. Sitter in 101 portraits, Artist associated with 33 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir William Orpen (1878-1931), Painter, Royal Acadamian. Artist associated with 29 portraits, Sitter in 28 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Orpen and John met while studying at the Slade and became constant companions. Fifty years later John criticised this portrait for not conveying 'the shy, dreamy and reticent character of its model'. It is in fact one of Orpen's finest early portraits of a young artist whose behaviour was often far from 'reticent'.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- Bakewell, Michael, Character Sketches: Fitzrovia: London's Bohemia, 1999, p. 18
- Funnell, Peter (introduction); Marsh, Jan, A Guide to Victorian and Edwardian Portraits, 2011, p. 18
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 338
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 177
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1900back to top
Current affairsThe Conservatives return to power, after the Prime Minister Lord Salisbury calls a general election, known as the 'Khaki election', on the back of huge jingoistic support for the Boer War. The Labour Representation Committee (LRC) is founded from a coalition of socialist groups; they win two seats in the 1900 election and Ramsay Macdonald is appointed secretary. The Labour politician Keir Hardie is also returned to Parliament for Merthyr Tydfilin Wales.
Art and scienceGerman physicist Max Planck proposes the concept of the quantum theory. Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams is published. In the text, Freud outlines his theory of dream analysis, crucial to the study of the unconscious, and introduces key concepts in psychoanalysis, such as the Ego. The Paris International Exhibition, attended by more than 50 million people and including over 76,000 exhibitors, marks the heyday of Art Nouveau.
InternationalIn China the Boxer rebellion takes place. The Boxers were anti-imperialist and against foreign influence in trade, religion, politics and technology in the final years of the Manchu rule. The Boxers invade Beijing, killing 230 foreigners and Chinese Christians. The rebellion is suppressed by a multinational coalition of 20,000 troops, with China being forced to pay large war reparations, contributing to growing nationalist resentment against the Qing dynasty.
See this portrait
On display in Room 22 at the National Portrait Gallery
- Portrait of the Day: Augustus John
11 December, 12:30