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Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912), Painter

Painter; born Lorenz Tadema (adding godfather’s name ‘Alma’ at unknown date) 8 January 1836 in Friesland, north Netherlands. Studied at Antwerp Academy and with Henri Leys; visited Rome; worked in Belgium; moved to London 1870 and anglicized first name; married 1863 Pauline Gressin (d.1869) and 1871 Laura Epps (NPG 5898); following a visit to Pompeii in 1863 specialized in vividly realized scenes of classical life, especially imagined reconstructions of Roman antiquity with authentic archaeological details, which achieved enormous success; lived in St John’s Wood; British denization 1873; elected ARA 1873, RA 1876; retrospective at Grosvenor Gallery 1883; knighted 1899; OM 1905; died 28 June 1912 at Wiesbaden, Germany, buried at St Paul’s Cathedral, London; interest in his work has revived in recent years, with major books and an exhibition. [1]

A convivial and sociable personality, of ‘boundless’ vigour and ‘endless’ good humour, [2] with a fondness for atrocious puns and mechanical toys, he was described by one contemporary as ‘a short, sturdily-built man with twinkling eyes, cheery smile, hair parted in the middle of a broad forehead and small tawny beard’ [3] and by another as ‘a rather short, broad, blond personage [with] a broad forehead, pale-grey eyes with eye-glasses, a big humorous mouth hardly hidden by a thin short yellow beard. His front face was blunt, jolly and unremarkable, but his profile was fine as an antique cameo.’ [4]

Dr Jan Marsh

Footnotesback to top

1) See Swanson 1977; Swanson 1990; Becker et al. 1996; Barrow 2001; and Barrow 2004.
2) W.B. Scott; quoted Swanson 1990, p.47. See also obituary in The Times, 26 June 1912.
3) Frederick Yeames; quoted in Smith 1926, p.211.
4) Hawthorne 1928, p.122–3.

Referencesback to top

Alma-Tadema 1998
The Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema Collection: Photographs and Correspondence of the Famous Victorian Painter, microform publication, Leiden, 1998; copies in University of Birmingham Library and British Library, microfiche F.803.

Athill & Goodchild 1981
Athill, P., and A. Goodchild, William Strang RA, 1859–1921, Painter-Etcher, exh. cat, Sheffield City Art Galleries, Glasgow City Art Gallery and NPG, London, Sheffield, 1981.

Barrow 2001
Barrow, R.J., Lawrence Alma-Tadema, London, 2001.

Barrow 2004
Barrow, R., ‘Tadema, Sir Lawrence Alma- (1836–1912)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; online ed., May 2009.

Becker et al. 1996
Becker, E., and others, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, exh. cat., Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam and Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool: Zwolle, 1996.

Caneva 2002
Caneva, C., Il corridoio vasariano agli Uffizi, Florence, 2002.

Cooper 1876–83
Cooper, T., Men of Mark: A Gallery of Contemporary Portraits of Men Distinguished in the Senate, the Church, in Science, Literature and Art, the Army, Navy, Law, Medicine, etc. Photographed from life by Lock and Whitfield, London, 7 ser., 1876–83.

Cowell 1975
Cowell, F. R., The Athenaeum: club and social life in London, 1824-1974, London 1975.

Dorment 1985
Dorment, R., Alfred Gilbert, New Haven and London, 1985.

Eyre 1913
Eyre, A.M., Saint John’s Wood: Its History, Its Houses, Its Haunts and Its Celebrities, London, 1913.

Gould 2004
Gould, V.F., G.F. Watts: The Last Great Victorian, London, 2004.

Hart-Davis 1972
Hart-Davis, R., A Catalogue of the Caricatures of Max Beerbohm, London, 1972.

Hawthorne 1928
Hawthorne, J., Shapes That Pass: Memories of Old Days, London, 1928.

Herkomer 1910–11
Herkomer, H. von, The Herkomers, 2 vols, London, 1910–11.

Jones et al. 1996
Jones, S., and others, Frederic Leighton 1830–1896, exh. cat., Royal Academy, London, 1996.

McMaster 2008
McMaster, J., ‘That Mighty Art of Black-and-White: Linley Sambourne, Punch and the Royal Academy’, British Art Journal, Autumn 2008, pp.62–76.

McMaster 2009
McMaster, J., That Mighty Art of Black-and-White: Linley Sambourne, Punch and the Royal Academy, Edmonton, Canada, 2009.

Noakes 1978
Noakes, A., William Frith: Extraordinary Victorian Painter, London, 1978.

O’Donoghue 1908–22
O’Donoghue, F., Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, 5 vols, London, 1908–22 (and vol.6, H.M. Hake, Supplement and indexes, 1925).

Ormond 2010
Ormond, L., Linley Sambourne: Illustrator and Punch Cartoonist, London, 2010.

Ormond & Ormond 1975
Ormond, L., and R. Ormond, Lord Leighton, London, 1975.

Reed 1898
Reed, E.T., Mr Punch's Animal Land, London, 1898.

Smith 1926
Smith, M.H. Stephen, Art and Anecdote: Recollections of William Frederick Yeames R.A, His Life and His Friends, London, 1926.

Stephens 1884
Stephens, F.G., ed., Artists at Home. Photographed by J.P. Mayall and reproduced in facsimile…, 6 parts, London, 1884.

Swanson 1977
Swanson, V.G., Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema: Painter of the Victorian Vision of the Ancient World, London, 1977.

Swanson 1990
Swanson, V.G., The Biography and Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, London, 1990.

Walery 1888–96
Walery [Stanislas Julian, Count Ostrorog], ed., Our Celebrities: A Portrait Gallery … Portraits by Walery, 5 vols (vol.1 ed. L. Engel), London, 1888–96.

[Wood] 1984
[Wood, C., intro.,] A Fraternity of Artists: A Set of Sixty-two Portraits of Late Victorian Artists, by Walker Hodgson, exh. leaflet, Christopher Wood Gallery, London, 1984.

Dr Jan Marsh