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Sir George Scharf

3 of 79 portraits of Sir George Scharf

Sir George Scharf, by A.S. Langdon, early-mid 1870s -NPG 4583 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Sir George Scharf

by A.S. Langdon
Coloured chalks with traces of pencil and white paint on paper, early-mid 1870s
13 7/8 in. x 9 7/8 in. (352 mm x 251 mm) overall
NPG 4583


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Inscriptionback to top

Inscr. by sitter in pencil below image: ‘GS. drawn by A. Langdon in Ashley Place.’;
and within image top left: ‘Venus of Milo’.

This portraitback to top

This drawing was part of George Scharf’s substantial bequest to the National Portrait Gallery in 1895. In 1967 it was ‘found in the NPG Archives’ and given an accession number. [1]

It had been kept in a paper wrapper inscribed by Scharf ‘Chalk drawing of GS. by Langdon. done early in Ashley Place, Victoria Street.’ [2] ‘Early’ probably means either early in the morning (Scharf was a keen recorder of atmospheric conditions) or, less likely, soon after the move to 8 Ashley Place, which took place in December 1869. The drawing itself is inscribed but not dated by Scharf. It shows him at his desk, drawing on tracing paper, a stylus pinning the two sheets together. He is beardless and this suggests a date between 1869 (the move to Ashley Place) and 1876 (the year he grew a beard).

A.S. Langdon made a crayon portrait of Scharf’s friend Jacob Luard Pattisson on 14 May 1872 (NPG 4053(8)), as recorded by Scharf: ‘Langdon for Breakfast to make a crayon sketch of Jack’ . [3] He is otherwise unrecorded. [4]

For a description of ‘the cosy and comfortable library which is his ordinary sitting-room’ at Ashley Place, see ‘Celebrities at Home: Mr George Scharf’, The World, 28 September 1892, pp.10–11, copy in NPG NoA (Scharf).

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) Hill 1970, p.230.
2) Paper wrapper in NPG RP 4583.
3) Sir George Scharf Papers (Personal diary 1872, NPG7/3/1/29, NPG Archive). There may be other references to Langdon in Scharf’s papers; however, these ‘have not been catalogued down to item level so individual letters to named correspondents have not been referenced’ (email from NPG Archivist, 22 Mar. 2011).
4) A.S. Langdon is not mentioned in works of reference on artists, Who Was Who, the 1872 Post Office Directory, etc.

Physical descriptionback to top

Half-length to right, seated at desk, head bowed, holding drawing instruments with both hands.

Provenanceback to top

Scharf Bequest, 1895.

View all known portraits for Sir George Scharf