Edwardian Stage and Society: Sketches by R. G Mathews

Past display archive
2 September 2008 - 22 March 2009

Room 28

Free



Emma Albani, by Richard George Mathews, 1905 - NPG  - © estate of Richard George Mathews / National Portrait Gallery, London

Emma Albani
by Richard George Mathews
1905
NPG 6729

The series of drawings and prints in this display was produced by Richard Mathews (1870-1955) who worked for the illustrated press in the early twentieth century. Recently acquired by the National Portrait Gallery, this is the first time they have been displayed. They portray leading members of Edwardian stage and society who generated large amounts of publicity and whose images were frequently reproduced.

Born in Montreal Mathews moved to London in around 1907 where he drew portraits of people in the public eye and contributed to the weekly illustrated newspaper, the Bystander. The drawings in their subtle shadings and fine detail not only capture individual likenesses but evoke a mood of a pleasure-seeking globe-trotting era. Speedier means of transport were complemented by an international exchange of ideas and culture, and the proliferation of illustrated newspapers across the British Empire. In that energetic and fast moving society, these figures would have been instantly recognisable. The display brings their names and faces once again into the public eye.