Edward Carpenter

1 portrait on display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery

Edward Carpenter, by Roger Fry, 1894 - NPG 2447 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Edward Carpenter

by Roger Fry
oil on canvas, 1894
29 1/2 in. x 17 1/4 in. (749 mm x 438 mm)
Given by Roger Fry, 1930
Primary Collection
NPG 2447


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Sitterback to top

  • Edward Carpenter (1844-1929), Writer on social subjects. Sitter in 8 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Roger Fry (1866-1934), Critic and painter. Artist of 5 portraits, Sitter in 17 portraits.

This portraitback to top

In 1886, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson and C. R. Ashbee invited Edward Carpenter, the sandal-wearing socialist, to lecture in Cambridge. He made a huge impression, not least on Roger Fry, who was then in his second year as an undergraduate. Together with Ashbee, Fry went to visit Carpenter in Derbyshire and they became friends. In 1894, Fry painted this portrait of him, looking suitably raffish, alone in a bleak interior and wearing what Fry called his 'anarchist overcoat'. Following Carpenter's death in 1929, Fry offered the portrait to the Gallery: 'In view of the position that the late Edward Carpenter held in the world of social reform you may, I think, wish to have a portrait of him. I knew him well in my youth and one of my earliest more or less complete works was a portrait of him. I should be very glad to offer this to the National Portrait Gallery should it be found acceptable.'

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