Cecil John Rhodes
10 of 10 portraits on display in Room 26 at the National Portrait Gallery
Cecil John Rhodes
by George Frederic Watts
oil on canvas, 1898
33 3/4 in. x 26 3/4 in. (857 mm x 679 mm)
Given by the artist's executors, 1905
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902), Imperialist, statesman in South Africa and mining entrepreneur. Sitter in 25 portraits.
Artistback to top
- George Frederic Watts (1817-1904), Painter and sculptor. Artist associated with 90 portraits, Sitter in 43 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Rhodes wrote to Mrs. Watts while the portrait was being painted, asking her to tell Watts to put in the eyes of the Sphinx looking over the desert into eternity, only in my case for empire of the race that I believe to be the best.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 518
Events of 1898back to top
Current affairsThe UK Parliament passes the Irish Local Government Act, which establishes a mixed system of local government in Ireland similar to that in Great Britain, notably creating new, directly elected county councils, and extending the electoral franchise to include all male householders and occupiers. Charles Pelham Villiers, Britain's longest-serving Member of Parliament, dies. Villiers entered Parliament in 1835 as Liberal MP for Wolverhampton.
Art and scienceThe French physicists Pierre and Marie Curie discover the strongly radioactive elements polonium and radium, paving the way for cancer therapy and nuclear physics. H.G. Wells's highly influential science fiction novellaThe War of the World is published, describing an invasion of England by aliens from Mars.
InternationalThe Spanish-American war takes place after Spain fails to meet America's demands to peacefully resolve the Cuban fight for independence. America secures victory after a series of quick naval and military victories in the Philippines and Cuba. Later this year, the Treaty of Paris gives the US ownership of the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam, the US also taking control of Cuba, ending the uprising and granting independence.
See this portrait
On display in Room 26 at the National Portrait Gallery
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‘Poets, prophets, painters and lovely maidens’
- Victorian Portraits