Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Josephine Elizabeth Butler (née Grey) (1828-1906), Social reformer

Paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints

Paintings, drawings, sculptures and printsback to top

Watercolour drawing, oval, by Hannah Grey (sitter’s mother), bust-length to front, looking to left, long dark hair loose below shoulders; untraced. Repr. Butler 1954, facing p.34; Jordan 2001, no.3; and Sykes 2006, no.1.

Watercolour miniature by John Henry Mole, bust-length, half-profile to right, hair braided above nape, wearing wide white flounced collar, with floral posy; Liverpool UL, Spec. Colls, JB 2/1/1.

Chalk drawing by George Richmond; see NPG 6482.
Chalk copy, 606 x 454mm, by John Douglas Miller after Richmond, ?1890s; Women’s L., LSE, London, TWL.1998.78.
Watercolour copy, 350 x 260mm, by E.H. Odell after Richmond, ?1900s; Liverpool UL, Spec. Colls, JB 2/1/2. Repr. 1928 (as postcard); and Sykes 2006, no.3.

Oil on canvas by Julius Jacob, half-length to front, looking to right, hair looped behind ears, wearing pale chemise and sprigged wrap; untraced, formerly with Lady Anne Younger. Exh. RA 1853 (196, as Mrs George Butler of Oxford); repr. Bell 1968, front cover; and Sykes 2006, no.4.

Marble busts by Alexander Munro:
(a) 750mm high, hair loosely caught in chignon of stars behind head, wearing slipped chiton; Girton Coll., Cambridge (offered to NPG 1918). Exh. Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde, Tate, London, 2012 (115); repr. Butler 1909, p.20; Jordan 2001, no.12; Sykes 2006, no.5; and Barringer et al. 2012, p.158.
Plaster version, 680mm high; untraced, Sotheby’s, 23 Nov. 2010 (13, ill.) According to Bennett 1988, p.166 this is the earlier of the two full busts.
(b) 690mm high, looking down, hair in elaborately looped braid on nape, wearing simple gathered yoked dress and chemise; Walker AG, Liverpool, 8782. Exh. RA 1861 (1072, as Mrs George Butler); repr. Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Mar. 1977, supplement p.72, no.310; Bennett 1988, p.166 (two views); and Sykes 2006. Butler used this work, photographed by Vandyke & Brown and reproduced as a card, as a campaigning and fund-raising image in the late 1860s (see Liverpool UL, Spec. Colls, JB 2/1/6; card repr. Barringer et al. 2012, p.115).

Plaster relief, circular, by Alexander Munro, head and neck, profile to left, hair in chignon behind head, fanciful collar of foliage and flowers; Walker AG, Liverpool, 9026. Repr. Review of Reviews 1896, p.299; and Sykes 2006, front cover.

Pen and ink caricature by Harriet Grey (sitter’s sister), inscr. with title ‘Separation from Oxford after the election of the Latin professor’ and names ‘George’, ‘Josie’, ‘Georgie’, ‘Stanley’, whole-length, as beggar tramping behind husband, carrying sons wrapped in shawl; priv. coll., 2005. Repr. Butler 1954, facing p.50; Longford 1981, p.111; and Jordan 2001, no.14.

Pencil by William Bell Scott, initialled, dated ‘Sep 1856’ and inscr. ‘Mrs Josephine Butler’ lower right; head-and-shoulders, half-profile to left, looking down, lace collar and clothing lightly sketched; Ashmolean M., (WA2016.67). Repr. Maas Gallery catalogue Summer 2016, no.85.

Design by unidentified artist, whole-length to left, standing on platform, addressing crowd of men; untraced. Repr. unidentified periodical, Longford 1981, p.119 (credit Liverpool City Libraries); and Jordan 2001, no.22.

Oil on canvas by George Frederic Watts; see NPG 2194.

?Sculpture by unidentified artist, bust, no details; untraced. Ref. letter from Josephine Butler to Miss Forsaith, 5 July 1899, citing a bust depicting herself at the International Congress of Women, London, June–July 1899, adding ‘most people thought it was Socrates!’; Liverpool UL, Spec. Colls, JB 1/1/1899/07/05(I).

Etching, 100 x 90mm, by Constantin Meunier, signed in plate, head-and-shoulders, profile to left; Women’s L., LSE, London, 3AMS/G/02/28. Based on photograph by Elliott & Fry (see below, ‘Photographs, 1890s, pose [b]’).

Chalk and gouache drawing, 385 x 255mm, by Emily Ford, signed and dated, head-and-shoulders, profile to left; Leeds AG, 517/24. Exh. Salute to the Leeds Art Collection Fund, 1990 (36); repr. Bell 1968, facing p.65. Butler wrote ‘I have been sitting all day on a chair, for Emily Ford besought me so earnestly to let her try & draw my old face … She has done a drawing, life size, in chalk, & I can only say it is much better than what Watts did. Perhaps that is not saying much; but it is really artistic, and I think like, with all its thinness and wrinkles’; letter from J. Butler to Stanley Butler, 2 Mar. 1903, Liverpool UL, Spec. Colls, JB 1/1 1903/03/02(I). The drawing was intended for photographic reproduction for subscribers to a presentation to Butler in 1906 (Hooper 1912) but rejected in favour of a photograph by Elliott & Fry (see below, ‘Photographs, c.1901, pose [a]’; and Jordan 2001, p.293). Butler explained its rejection, writing ‘it is not liked. For it is too deathlike & rather terrible. It surprises people, for I am really not like that at all times, tho’ I am old’; letter from J. Butler to Emily Ford, 14 Apr. 1906, Women’s L., LSE, London, 3JBL /51/21. The Josephine Butler collection at Liverpool UL includes sample prints of the image, with the sitter’s facsimile signature; Liverpool UL, Spec. Colls, JB 2/1/9.

Posthumous portraits

Pencil drawing on mount, 229 x 177mm, signed ‘AN’, inscr. ‘Rothesay 1912’, rear view, speaking to crowd; Women’s L., LSE, London, 3AMS/G/02/19 or OS-JB6 3AMS/F/159.

Metal plaque, 195 x 160mm oval, by F[?anny] Byse, head-and-shoulders to left; Women’s L., LSE, London, 3AMS/K/01.

Plaster ?figure by unidentified artist, in several pieces; Women’s L., LSE, London, 3AMS/K/03.

Stained (painted) glass, designed by James Hogan, head-and-shoulders; memorial window sequence ‘Noble Women’, Lady Chapel, Liverpool Cathedral; destroyed WW2; replaced 1951 by A.A. Burcome, of Whitefriars Studios, following Hogan’s designs (ref. C.F.H. Soulby, Noble Women in the Lady Chapel, Liverpool Cathedral, booklet, Liverpool Cathedral, 1951). Based on drawing by George Richmond (see above, ‘1851’).

Terracotta bust (head) by Hilda Littler; untraced. Ref. NPG SB (Butler).

Bronze bust, 1.25 lifesize on socle (one of two casts), by Tom Maley, careworn features, loose hair and low-necked bodice with ruffled collar; Gateway Trust Cheviot Centre, Wooler, Northd. Partly inspired by Munro’s bust (see above, ‘1855–6, pose [a]’).

Pen and ink caricature by Kristi-Ly Green, half-length, profile to left; untraced. Exh. Irregular Slubs, Toronto, 2005.

Plaster relief, approx. 600 x 400mm oval, by Mark Richards, head to left; temporary display, Winchester Cathedral. Based on drawing by George Richmond, see above, ‘1851’.

Doubtful portrait

Coloured design by unidentified artist, half-length to front, dark hair centre-parted, wearing dark lace wrap over pale bodice; untraced. Repr. She, Sept. 1985, p.11 (credited to MEPL, London but not now found there); and Davis 2009, front cover (no credit).

Photographsback to top

Daguerreotype, 60 x 75mm, by Portrait Rooms, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, bust length, near-profile to right, hair braided at nape; Liverpool UL, Spec. Colls, JB 2/1/5. Repr. Sykes 2006, no.2 (where dated c.1850).

Cartes-de-visite by Robinson & Thompson, Liverpool, two known poses:
(a) head-and-shoulders vignette, half-profile to right, looking to right, wearing large earrings and three-strand necklace of large pieces; original sepia carte, 89 x 60mm, Women’s L., LSE, London, 3AMS/G/01/01 (erroneously attributed to Moses Bowness); opalotype transferrred onto glass, Liverpool UL, Spec. Colls, JB 2/1/7 (exh. NPG 1978). Repr. (sometimes in reverse) Butler 1896, frontispiece; Review of Reviews 1896, p.305; Petrie 1971, frontispiece; Jordan 2001, no.17; Sykes 2006 no.7; and MEPL, London, 100089772.
(b) half-length, looking left, arms folded on parapet; repr. MEPL, London, 10092838 (where attributed to Women’s L.). Poor print and not certainly the same session as pose (a).
In 1868, Butler wrote that she had ‘tried in vain three times to get a decent [photograph] of myself. They are somehow never in the least like, but I have at last got one done of Munro’s bust of me, which is nice I think’; letter from J. Butler to Mrs Ryley [sic], Liverpool UL, Spec. Colls, JB 1/1 1868/06/00(II).

?early 1870s
Photographs by Robinson & Thompson, Liverpool, wearing elaborate head-covering, pale fichu and tailored jacket with wide fringed braid at cuffs, two known poses:
(a) half-length, near-profile to left, looking down, seated, right hand to cheek, left hand resting on book; prints Women’s L., LSE, London, 3AMS/G/01/10 and 11. Repr. MEPL, London, 10064340.
(b) half-length to left, head turned to front, standing, hands clasped to left; repr. as vignette, Northumberland Communities website.

Photographs by Downey & Mendelssohn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, two known poses:
(a) 164 x 107mm, three-quarter-length, profile to left, seated, right elbow on table with book, wearing jacket with full sleeves and deep cuff, crucifix on chain; prints Women’s L., LSE, London, 3AMS/G/01/02, 03 and 04 (where dated to c.1880). Repr. MEPL, London, 10086399; used as basis for window design by Rosalind Grimshaw, 2002, in St Augustine’s, Scaynes Hill, West Sussex.
(b) three-quarter-length, profile to right, head bent over desk, left hand to cheek, wearing prominent crucifix; repr. Bell 1968, frontispiece (captioned ‘about 1869’).
The authorship of pose (b) is uncertain but the sitter appears to be wearing a similar outfit to pose (a).
One or more of the preceding photographic sessions may have been prompted by the request from the sitter’s son George, on going to university in 1871, for a photograph ‘where you had your natural expression; not one where you look as if you knew you were in a photographer’s shop’. He specifically wanted an image of her ‘not as an agitator or anything great and grand, but as my very own dear mother’; letter from George G. Butler to Josephine Butler, n.d., Northumberland Record Office, quoted Jordan 2001, pp.176–7.

after 1875
Photograph by Stanley Butler (sitter’s son), nearly whole-length to front, looking left, seated on garden bench in front of tall hedge with Henry J. Wilson and Prof. James Stuart; print in album, Women’s L., LSE, London, 3AMS/G/05/07. Repr. MEPL, London, 10117450. In 1875 Butler and Wilson were appointed joint secretaries of the International Federation for the Abolition of State Regulation of Prostitution, with Stuart as Hon. Treasurer; this photograph may have been taken to mark the inaugural meeting in Liverpool, Mar. 1875, although the season is evidently later.

Photograph by unidentified photographer, whole-length to front, right hand to cheek, seated third from left in front row of large outdoor group; two prints in Women’s L., LSE, London (one indexed as International Abolitionist Federation in Geneva c.1877, the other as Conference of Association for Mental and Social Hygiene, 19th century). Repr. MEPL, London, 10010401 and 10092990; and Jordan 2001, no.25 (where dated to 1877). Butler’s International Federation, founded in 1874, held its congress in Geneva in Sept. 1877, Sept. 1889 and Sept. 1899 (by which date, Butler’s husband, also seen in the group photograph, had died).

Photograph by unidentified photographer, half-length, profile to left, wearing dark cap with lace trim and dark feather scarf up to chin; repr. Fawcett & Turner 1927, frontispiece (vignette); and Bell 1968, facing p.64.

Photographs by Elliott & Fry (taken after the death of sitter’s husband George Butler in 1890), wearing dark velvet costume and dark cap tied under chin with wide ribbon, plus long pale veil descending from cap, four known poses:
(a) carte-de-visite, 140 x 89mm, three-quarter-length, profile to left, standing, left hand resting on table, right hand holding tail of long veil, with long bead necklace and another attached to fob watch; prints in Women’s L., LSE, London, 3AMS/G/01/12-13-14 (where dated c.1900); and New York PL, Image ID 1158520.
(b) carte-de-visite, 127 x 101mm, half-length, profile to left, standing, left arm across body; prints in Women’s L., LSE, London, AMS/G/01/15-16-17. Repr. MEPL, London, 10072240 and 10086396. This image used for the etching by Constantin Meunier (see above, ‘Paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints, ?c.1900’).
(c) three-quarter-length to left, facing camera, seated, veil looped across bust, left elbow on table, hands clasped holding book on lap; repr. Jordan 2001, no.29 (credited to Northumberland Record Office).
(d) half-length, profile to left, veil looped over dark garments and beads; repr. Butler 1954, facing p.154 (captioned ‘Mrs Butler in 1891’).

before 1896
Photographs by Jesse Newns of Ealing, taken in sitter’s home, two known poses:
(a) whole-length, rear view, profile to right, seated at table with papers, window and dressing mirror to right; prints Women’s L., LSE, London, 3AMS/G/01/18. Repr. MEPL, London, 10089717 (as ‘Josephine Butler writing in her study’).
(b) three-quarter-length to front, profile to right, seated behind circular table, wearing pale-coloured cape, holding pen and paper; print inscr. ‘Grannie writing her book. For dear Josephine’ (sitter’s granddaughter, born 1887), Women’s L., LSE, London, 3AMS/G/01/19 (another print TWL.2003.650). Repr. Butler 1954, facing p.216 (as ‘Mrs Butler writing in 1903’); Longford 1981, p.125; Jordan 2001 no.31 (where slightly different inscr. is cited); and MEPL, London, 10086398. The book referred to is probably Butler 1896.

Photographs by unidentified photographer/s, two known poses:
(a) 149 x 203mm, whole-length, profile to left, seated far right in large family group including sons and grandchildren, in drawing room; print in album, Women’s L., LSE, London, 3AMS/G/03/14 (where identified as ‘Butler Family at Ewart Park, Northumberland’ and dated to Christmas 1897, with names of all sitters). Repr. Jordan 2001, no.30; and MEPL, London, 10092837 and 10122743.
(b) half-length to front, seated fourth from left in similar family group outdoors before ivy-covered wall and doors; print inscr. with names repr. Northumberland Communities website.

Photographs by Elliott & Fry, head-and-shoulders, profile to left, wearing cap with broderie trim and dark ruffled scarf to chin, two known poses:
(a) looking down; print (circular), Liverpool UL, Spec. Colls, JB 2/1/8 (where dated c.1901). This image chosen by the sitter for distribution in 1906 as having ‘at least a calm, good old face’; letter from Josephine Butler to Millicent Fawcett, 9 Apr.1906, quoted Jordan 2001, p.293.
(b) looking left; print (portrait), MEPL, London, 10454593.

Photographs by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company, wearing dark cap with lace trimming, dark garment with cape sleeves and pale ostrich-feather boa, four known poses:
(a) three-quarter-length, profile to right, seated in front of window, left hand to chin, large book on table; Getty Images, 2637940.
(b) three-quarter-length, half-profile to right, seated in front of bookcase, looking down to read book on table; Getty Images, 3094795. This image is probably printed in reverse, as poses (c) and (d) show very similar poses to left.
(c) three-quarter-length to left, seated in front of bookcase, looking up to left, left hand holding book, right hand to cheek; Getty Images, 3096335.
(d) three-quarter-length, half-profile to left, seated in front of bookcase, leaning forwards to read book on table, right hand to temple; Women’s L., LSE, London, OS-JB5 3AMS/F/133. Repr. MEPL, London, 10154090.

Dr Jan Marsh