Portraits in disguise - NPG P68
George Frederic Watts
by James Soame
Evidence suggests that the painter George Frederic Watts (1817-1904) relied quite heavily on photographic reference material for his work. Writing to Sir Charles Dilke about this in 1873, he said, 'They (the photographs) help to make me acquainted with peculiarities and shorten the sittings necessary'. At the time that this photograph was taken, Watts was working on a fresco 'Justice: a Hemicycle' for the Hall at Lincoln's Inn, and it is thought he may be dressed and posed in his photograph as a study for one of the figures in his mural. There are numerous portraits and self-portraits of Watts.
One in particular NPG 1406, painted c.1879, is consciously modelled on Titian's self-portrait in the Prado, made no doubt in homage to an artist whom Watts greatly admired, but also suggesting by association his own claim to fame.
Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield
by William Edward Kilburn
NPG AX33505 (Detail)
A double-breasted frockcoat, cut close to the body, the skirts flare out gently to just above knee height over narrowly cut trousers. The wide lapels set off a white shirt with starched upright collar and cravat.