Joseph Conrad

1 portrait

Joseph Conrad, by George Charles Beresford, 1904 - NPG x6360 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Joseph Conrad

by George Charles Beresford
sepia-toned platinotype, 1904
6 1/8 in. x 4 3/8 in. (156 mm x 110 mm)
Given by George Charles Beresford, 1933
Photographs Collection
NPG x6360

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This portrait was made the year Conrad completed the novel Nostromo, a story of corruption in the fictitious South American republic of Costaguana. Exhausted by this 'intense creative effort', Conrad wrote that he had neglected the 'common joys of life' for twenty months. Beresford took many portraits of writers and artists, which appeared in the leading illustrated periodicals of the day.

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Events of 1904back to top

Current affairs

Britain and France sign the Entente Cordiale, an agreement which resolves a number of longstanding colonial disputes (including a Declaration respecting Egypt and Morocco), signalling growing anxiety about the risk of future German aggression. Although not militarily binding, the agreement, negotiated between French foreign minister Théophile Delcassé, and Lord Lansdowne, the British Foreign Secretary, establishes a diplomatic understanding between the two countries.

Art and science

J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan is first performed at the Duke of York's Theatre in London. Charting the fantastical adventures of Peter, 'the boy who never grew up', the Darling children and the villainous Captain Hook in Neverland, many adaptations have been made of the story. The painter Gwen John settles in Paris, where she becomes the lover and model of the sculptor Auguste Rodin, modelling for his sculpture Muse.


Japan attacks the Russian Navy at Port Arthur, sparking the Russo-Japanese war. Hostility was prompted by the rival imperialist ambitions of the Russian and Japanese empires in Manchuria, North East China, and Korea, considered by Japan to be an essential buffer against colonisation by Western Powers. Japan wins a series of victories against Russia which transforms the balance of power in East Asia, and undermines the Tsar's rule in Russia.

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