Henry James

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

Henry James, by John Singer Sargent, 1913 - NPG 1767 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Henry James

by John Singer Sargent
oil on canvas, 1913
33 1/2 in. x 26 1/2 in. (851 mm x 673 mm)
Bequeathed by Henry James, 1916
Primary Collection
NPG 1767


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Sitterback to top

  • Henry James (1843-1916), Novelist. Sitter in 16 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), Portrait and landscape painter and muralist. Artist associated with 72 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.

This portraitback to top

The American-born novelist Henry James settled in England, at Lamb House, Rye, in 1898. By the time this portrait was painted he was at the end of a career which had seen the success of early novels such as Portrait of a Lady (1881), followed by the late masterpieces The Wings of the Dove (1902) and The Golden Bowl (1904). This portrait was commissioned to celebrate James's seventieth birthday by a group of 269 subscribers organised by the American novelist Edith Wharton, although ultimately Sargent, a fellow American and friend, waived his fee. When it was completed James pronounced the portrait to be 'a living breathing likeness and a masterpiece of painting'.

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