Sir Thomas Brock

1 portrait

Sir Thomas Brock, by Sir Leslie Ward, 1905 -NPG 5393 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Sir Thomas Brock

by Sir Leslie Ward
Pencil, watercolour and gouache on blue paper, 1905
14 3/8 in. x 10 in. (365 mm x 254 mm)
NPG 5393


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Inscriptionback to top

Signed in ink bottom right: ‘Spy’;
inscr. in pencil top centre: ‘BROCK . R.A.’

This portraitback to top

This finished drawing was preparatory to a lithograph that was published in Vanity Fair on 21 September 1905 and titled ‘The Queen’s Memorial’. As the magazine’s ‘Man of the Day’ Brock is shown with a model of the monument he designed for the top of the Mall, a commission that earned him a knighthood after its unveiling in 1911. The drawing is very close to the print. [1] It is hardly a caricature and is best read in conjunction with the editor’s biographical sketch:

Mr Thomas Brock is a bluff, business-like Englishman who has learnt his art in the land that now honours him as a sculptor. He is a man who loves his home, practises the simple life, works hard, dresses like a mere inartistic individual, and has a conscientious objection to posturing before the public. [2]

Leslie Ward ('Spy') was the successor to Carlo Pellegrini (‘Ape’) on Vanity Fair. The magazine published large, folio-size chromolithographic portraits on a weekly basis; Pellegrini established the formula in 1869. ‘Ward was the first English artist to develop the portrait chargé, but in a much gentler style than his predecessor.’[3]

There is no reference to Brock or his sitting in Ward’s autobiography, Forty Years of ‘Spy’ (1915).

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) The main difference is in the trousers, plain in the watercolour and pin-striped in the print.
2) Jehu Junior (T.G. Bowles), ‘Men of the Day no.CMLXXII’, Vanity Fair, 21 Sept. 1905, p.367.
3) Houfe 1978, p.490. See also Matthews & Mellini 1982, p.21 for the portrait chargé type of caricature.

Physical descriptionback to top

Whole-length, standing slightly to right, wearing spectacles, a smock, and holding a clay modelling tool in his right hand, with model for Queen Victoria Memorial.

Provenanceback to top

Purchased by the NPG, Sotheby’s (Chancery Lane), 27 Mar. 1981 (661).

Exhibitionsback to top

Recent Acquisitions, NPG, London, 1982.

Reproductionsback to top

Copies of the print after NPG 5393
Chromolithograph by Vincent Brooks, Day & Son, Vanity Fair, 21 September 1905; copies colls NPG Archive; Henry Moore Inst. Archive, Leeds; MEPL, London, 10072058.

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