Ralph Vaughan Williams

1 portrait

Ralph Vaughan Williams, by Sir Jacob Epstein, 1950 - NPG 4762 - Photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

Photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

Ralph Vaughan Williams

by Sir Jacob Epstein
bronze bust, 1950
16 in. (406 mm) high
Purchased, 1970
Primary Collection
NPG 4762


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  • Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), Sculptor. Artist of 14 portraits, Sitter associated with 67 portraits.

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The composer Vaughan Williams was in his seventies when he began sitting for this portrait. Epstein described the sitter's commanding presence, saying, 'He reminded me in appearance of some eighteenth-century admiral whose word was law. Notwithstanding, I found him the epitome of courtesy and consideration and I was impressed by the logic and acuteness of everything he discoursed upon'. Epstein returned to the rougher modelling style of his early career for this bust. The rugged textures and slight tilt to the head animates the bust, giving it a sense of movement that helps to convey Vaughan Williams's lively intelligence.

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