- Extended catalogue entry
© National Portrait Gallery, London
by David Wilkie Wynfield
Sepia albumen print from wet collodion negative, 1860s
8 3/8 in. x 6 3/8 in. (212 mm x 161 mm)
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Inscriptionback to top
Photographic facsimile of sitter’s autograph on associated label.
This portraitback to top
This image was created during the 1860s and included by David Wilkie Wynfield in his series of artists portrayed in historical and contemporary costume,  many of which were released for sale from March 1864 under the title The Studio: A Collection of Photographic Portraits of Living Artists, taken in the style of the Old Masters, by an Amateur. The photograph was not included in the group of artists’ portraits registered by Wynfield in December 1863; this implies it was created at a later date, perhaps sometime in 1864–5.
Hacking groups Ansdell with ‘The Older Generation’ of Wynfield’s sitters and also draws attention to ‘the apparent power of movement’ discerned by contemporaries in Wynfield’s series,  noting that NPG P70 is ‘an excellent example’ of the tension created by turning the head and gaze to one side. 
Ansdell wears a cut-velvet tunic and cloak together with a semicircular metal collar-plate, apparently part of costume armour and also worn by George Frederic Watts in the same series (NPG P86). Hacking suggests that Wynfield’s historical costumes were borrowed from a ‘lending wardrobe’ collection owned by the Artists’ Society,  although the item may well have belonged to Watts, as Gould states that for some sitters Watts offered Wynfield the use of his studio at Little Holland House.  Ansdell may have been one of those photographed there.
For a duplicate print see NPG P89. Another copy was exhibited by Christopher Wood in Victorian Worthies, Alexander Gallery, London, July 1976 (12). Additional prints are in the RA, London, 03/4557; Birmingham MAG, 1978P434; RPS, Bath, 1979p; and V&A, London, 127-1945. Another copy was at Bonhams Printed Books, 18 June 2002 (696). To date, this is the largest number of prints known for a single Wynfield image from this series.
See NPG collection P70–P100
Dr Jan Marsh
Footnotesback to top
Physical descriptionback to top
Half-length, looking to left, with right hand visible, in historical costume.
Provenanceback to top
Sir Edmund Gosse , from whose heirs purchased 1929.
Exhibitionsback to top
Victorian Worthies, Alexander Gallery, London, 1976 (12).
Princes of Victorian Bohemia: Photographs by David Wilkie Wynfield, NPG, London, 2000 (14).
Reproductionsback to top
Hacking 2000, pl.14.