Sir Max Beerbohm
10 of 16 portraits on display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
Sir Max Beerbohm
by Sir William Newzam Prior Nicholson
oil on canvas, 1905
19 3/4 in. x 15 1/4 in. (502 mm x 400 mm)
Bequeathed by Mrs G. Kinnell, 1953
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- Sir Henry Maximilian ('Max') Beerbohm (1872-1956), Writer and caricaturist. Sitter associated with 18 portraits, Artist associated with 19 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir William Newzam Prior Nicholson (1872-1949), Artist. Artist associated with 29 portraits, Sitter in 8 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The artist William Nicholson and the caricaturist Max Beerbohm were close friends throughout their lives and used to meet for breakfast once a month. They were described by the writer and gallery owner Lillian Browse as 'curiously alike in their fastidiousness, sensitivity and whimsicality', although William Nicholson's taste in clothes was louder than Beerbohm's. This portrait of Beerbohm by Nicholson suggests Beerbohm's hypersensitivity about his appearance, with his closely fitting long black overcoat like an undertaker's, his dark, sleeked hair and the top hat, later described by Robert Graves as 'a certain superbly glossy top hat' which was left in Nicholson's studio to store paintbrushes when Beerbohm emigrated to Italy. The portrait was bequeathed to the Gallery by Mrs Gertrude Kinnell in 1953 and was accepted by the Trustees only with the proviso that it could not be exhibited during Beerbohm's lifetime.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Callow, Simon, Character Sketches: Oscar Wilde and His Circle, 2000, p. 57
- Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 202
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 174
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 174
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 46