Robert Louis Stevenson
8 of 23 portraits on display in Room 28 at the National Portrait Gallery
Robert Louis Stevenson
by Sir William Blake Richmond
oil on canvas, 1887
29 in. x 22 in. (737 mm x 559 mm)
Given by Sir William Blake Richmond, 1896
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), Novelist and essayist. Sitter associated with 30 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir William Blake Richmond (1842-1921), Painter; son of George Richmond. Artist associated with 16 portraits, Sitter in 16 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The portrait was painted in one sitting, at Richmond's house, on a hot afternoon in August, 1886 amid a jovial company including Sidney Colvin, Edward Burne-Jones and Burne-Jones' daughter, Margaret. Margaret recalled their lively conversation: They discussed suicide; compared notes as to their feelings towards policemen; told ghost stories; and most of the time Mr. Richmond painted, and Mr. Stevenson sat easily talking, smoking, and drinking coffee.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Victorian Portraits Resource Pack, p. 7
- Funnell, Peter, Victorian Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery Collection, 1996, p. 7
- Funnell, Peter (introduction); Marsh, Jan, A Guide to Victorian and Edwardian Portraits, 2011, p. 43
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 589
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 170
Events of 1887back to top
Current affairsQueen Victoria celebrates her Golden Jubilee, marking 50 years of her reign. In what becomes known as 'Bloody Sunday', or the Trafalgar Square Riot, the police attack a meeting of the Social Democratic Federation, led by among others) Elizabeth Reynolds, John Burns, Annie Besant and Robert Cunninghame-Graham, killing three and injuring more than 200 crowd members.
Art and scienceA Study in Scarlet, the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's detective mysteries featuring Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr Watson, is published. One of only four novels (there were a further 56 short stories) featuring Holmes, the mystery turns around the discovery of a corpse in Brixton.The essayist and critic Walter Pater publishes Imaginary Portraits in which he consolidates his doctrine of Aestheticism, 'art for art's sake'.
InternationalBritain ratifies the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, thus accepting the terms of the International Copyright Act (1886), which abolishes the requirement to register foreign works and introduces an exclusive right to import or produce translations.The British annex Zululand; it becomes part of Natal in 1897.
See this portrait
On display in Room 28 at the National Portrait Gallery