The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), Painter, sculptor and etcher

By other artists

Legros’s iconography, which is particularly rich, is best studied outside his native France. Besides the important holdings of self-portraits at the Boston Public Library (many unique states), the collection of portrait prints at the NPG and a scattering of prints and drawings in public collections, there is the Harold Wright Archive, Glasgow (MS Wright, University of Glasgow Special Colls). An untitled photograph (GB 0247 MS Wright L1000, acc. no. 4590) has not been checked; there is surely more iconographic material to be discovered there. Harold Wright (1885–1961), art historian and a director of Colnaghi’s, worked with Lucien Legros on a catalogue of Legros’s works.

Self-portraitsback to top

The most complete set of Legros self-portrait prints is held at the Boston Public Library, Boston MA.

Etching, signed lower left ‘A. Legros’, head-and-shoulders, full-face; Boston PL, Bliss Coll (unique impression). Ref. Poulet-Malassis & Thibaudeau 1877, no.3; and Bliss 1923, no.3. For image, see NPG SB (Legros).

Pen and ink drawing on paper, almost half-length, full-face slightly to left; Fitzwilliam M., Cambridge, 858.

Etching related to above drawing, head-and-shoulders only, full-face slightly to left; colls BM, London, 1908,1102.2; and Boston PL, Bliss Coll. Ref. Poulet-Malassis & Thibaudeau 1877, no.4; and Bliss 1923, no.4. For image, see NPG SB (Legros). Repr. Legros Album, NPG Archive, p.13 (4).

Drypoint, Le Salon de M. Edwin Edwards à Sunbury, 1861, whole-length, standing to right in group around piano; Elizabeth Harvey-Lee Prints, North Aston, Oxon., see The Seductive Art (stock catalogue 2001, no.20, ill.). Ref. Poulet-Malassis & Thibaudeau 1877, no.130.

Watercolour, signed and dated 1864, aged 27; untraced. Exh. Legros, Grosvenor G., London, 1922; ref. Bliss 1922 (6, coll. Ricketts).

Black chalk drawing on paper, head-and-shoulders, full-face slightly to left; untraced. Exh. Recent Acquisitions, Anthony d’Offay Fine Art, London, 1968 (17, ill.).

Etching and drypoint, half-length, full-face, pilaster to left; colls Boston PL, Bliss Coll. (1st, 2nd and 3rd states, and counterproof; for images, see NPG SB [Legros]); BM, London, 1931,0413.574–578 (various states); UCL Art Colls, EPC 1410; Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, San Francisco, 1963.30.30789; Cartwright Hall, Bradford, 1953-005; Fitzwilliam M., Cambridge, P.4-1962; Carlisle CAG, 1938.29.8; Auckland AG, New Zealand. Exh. Portraits of Artists, Writers and Musicians, Colnaghi, Dec. 1976 (269). Ref. Soulier & Legros 1904, no.212; and Bliss 1923, no.212. Repr. Legros Album, NPG Archive, p.3 (212, 212iii, early and later states).
Most of the portraiture for Legros shows him in later life. This is a well-documented, middle-period self-portrait showing him in his prime.

Pencil sketch, 149 x 152mm, head, three-quarters to left, looking to left, sheet torn into eight pieces and repaired; V&A, London, E.635-1937.

Goldpoint drawing, head, full-face, coll. Fitzwilliam M., Cambridge, 1069, ex-Bliss coll.

Crayon lithograph, signed and dated top right ‘1895’, head, full-face, eyes to right; BM, London, 1949,0411.2161; and Boston PL, Bliss Coll. Ref. Soulier & Legros 1904, no.560; and Bliss 1923, no.560. For image, see NPG SB (Legros).

exh. 1896
Self-portrait; untraced. Exh. RSPP 1896 (188).

publ. 1897
Lithograph, head-and-shoulders, full-face, eyes to right; colls Boston PL, Bliss Coll. (for image, see NPG SB [Legros]); Fitzwilliam M., Cambridge, P.2151-1991. Ref. Soulier & Legros 1877, no.577; and Bliss 1923, no.577. Repr. AJ, 1898, p.107; and Pennell & Pennell 1898, opp. p.90.

Silverpoint drawing on pink prepared paper, head-and-shoulders, profile to left; Louvre, Paris, RF 15895.[1]

late 1890s/early 1900s
Etching and drypoint, head-and-shoulders, three-quarters to left; colls Boston PL, Bliss Coll. (impressions of 1st, 2nd, 3rd states; for images, see NPG SB [Legros]); BM, London, 1949,0411.2242; and Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, San Francisco, 1977.1.26. Ref. Bliss 1923, no.412. Repr. Legros Album, NPG Archive, p.3 (412).

Etching, head, three-quarters to left; Boston PL, Bliss Coll. (unique impression). Ref. Bliss 1923, no.479 (possibly related to Bliss 1923, no.412). For image, see NPG SB (Legros).

Silverpoint drawing touched with white, head, full-face; UCL Art Colls, EPC 2866.

Pencil drawing, head-and-shoulders, full-face; Uffizi, Florence, 3443.[2] Repr. as photogravure Soulier & Legros 1904, frontispiece (BM, London 1906,0718.3; ref. O’Donoghue 1908–22, vol.3, Legros 3). A reproduction was displayed at the 1912 Legros exhibition.

exh. 1904
Portrait drawing; untraced. Ref. Soulier & Legros 1904 (25). Rodin was a buyer at this important exhibition.

Pencil drawing, head-and-shoulders, full-face; untraced; Sotheby’s, 26 Oct. 1977 (1). Close to the Uffizi drawing above.

Lithographic designs for self-portrait medallions:
(a) head-and-shoulders, profile to right, inscr. ‘A. LEGROS – PICTOR SCULPTOR 1905’; Boston PL, Bliss Coll. (impressions of 1st and 2nd states). Ref. Bliss 1923, no.643. For images, see NPG SB (Legros).
(b) head-and-shoulders, profile to right, inscr. ‘A. LEGROS PICTOR – 1905’; colls Boston PL, Bliss Coll. (impressions of 1st and 2nd states); and BM, London, 1949,0411.2169. Ref. Bliss 1923, no.648. For images, see NPG SB (Legros). An impression exh. Gutekunst G., London, Feb.–March 1907 (21, 22, ill.).

Lithograph related to above medallions, head, profile to right; Boston PL, Bliss Coll. (impressions of 1st and 2nd states). Ref. Bliss 1923, no.646. For images, see NPG SB (Legros). Repr. as collotype Wright 1934, p.8.

Etching and drypoint, head-and-shoulders, profile to left; colls Boston PL, Bliss Coll.; and M. New Zealand, Wellington, 1965-12-196; impressions retouched with pencil colls Boston PL; and Dublin CG, The Hugh Lane, 723. Ref. Bliss 1923, no.656. For images, see NPG SB (Legros).

Etching, signed ‘A.L.’ bottom right, head-and-shoulders to left; Boston PL, Bliss Coll. Ref. Bliss 1923, no.663 (close to Bliss 1923, no.656). For image, see NPG SB (Legros).

Cast bronze plaque, head-and-shoulders, profile to left; coll. BM, London, C&M 1984-5-44-4. Exhib. Legros, Manchester, 1912 (298-10); repr. Attwood 1984, p.20, no.42; and Attwood 1992, p.56, no.1. His last medallic work.

Undated self-portrait

Pencil design for a medallion, inscr. ‘A LEGROS PICTOR’, head-and-shoulders, profile in roundel to right; Courtauld Inst. AG, London, D.1982.JW.31.

Rejected self-portrait

Oil on canvas, 345 x 260mm, head-and-shoulders, facing downwards to left, with thick head of hair, moustache and beard, wearing white shirt; untraced; Hotel Drouot, Paris, 22 Dec. 1906 (209, ill.; catalogue cutting BM, London, 1906,1217.9; O’Donoghue 1908–22, vol.3, Legros 4). The sitter is too old to be Legros in 1859.

By other artistsback to top

Oil on canvas by Henri Fantin-Latour, bust slightly to left; Minneapolis IA, 2000.48.

Oil painting by Henri Fantin-Latour, three-quarter profile to left; untraced; formerly coll. M. Tanenbaum, sold Christie’s, NY, 6 May 1998 (155, ill.). See Druick & Hoog 1983, no.19.

Etching by Félix Bracquemond:
(a) 1st state, three-quarter-length, seated to right; colls BM, London, 1923,0411.10 and 1923,0714.207; and New York PL, Digital Gallery ID 1129427. Ref. Beraldi 1885–92, vol.3, no.73.[3]
(b) 2nd state, plate cut down, head-and-shoulders, three-quarter-length to right; (proof before all letters on chine collé) colls Bibliothèque nationale, Paris; NPG D18061; Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, San Francisco, 1963.30.1228; BM, London, 1923,0714.208; and New York PL, Digital Gallery ID 1129428. Publ. 1875 by Alphonse Cadart, L’Eau Forte en 1875, no.6, Paris. Lettered impressions colls BM, London, 1915,0105.14.37; Fitzwilliam M., Cambridge, P.3014-R; Roy Davids sale, Bonham's, 3 Oct. 2005 (196); and Boston PL, B73.

Oil on canvas by James McNeill Whistler, Wapping, bearded figure in group; NGA, Washington, DC, 1982.76.8.[4] Exh. RA 1864 (585). See Young, MacDonald & Spencer 1980, no.35.

Pen and ink drawing with wash by Henri Fantin-Latour, preparatory sketch for Hommage à Delacroix, inscr. ‘11. Septembre 1863. / 1 Moi / 2 Legros / 3 Whistler / 4 Manet / 5 Bracquemond / 6 Duranty / 7 Myianus regarde le public [?] / 8 Guillaume / 9 Cordier’, one of a group of figures gathered around bust of Delacroix; M. d’Orsay, Paris. See Denker 1995, pp.45–7 (ill.).

Oil on canvas by Henri Fantin-Latour, Hommage à Delacroix, third from left, facing slightly left; M. d’Orsay, Paris, RF 1664. Exh. Salon, Paris, 1864; and RSPP Annual exh., London, 1893 (198); repr. Druick & Hoog 1983, no.57.
Caricature drawing by Bertall & Co. (Albert d’Arnoux) for Le testament de César Girodot, par Fantin-Latour, after item above; untraced.
Repr. Le Journal amusant, 4 June 1864; and Jullien 1909, p.65.
A related pen and ink caricature by André Gill, Moi et Delacroix, avec mes amis autour, par Fantin, c.1864. Ref. Gallatin 1918, p.67, no.238; repr. Le Salon pour rire, 1864; Jullien 1909, p.64.

mid to late 1860s
Pencil drawings by George Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle:
(a) three-quarter-length to left, seated etching at a table, magnifier in left hand; untraced. Ref. photograph NPG SB (Legros).
(b) half-length, profile to left, etching or drawing at table; page from large sketchbook, Castle Howard, York. Exh. George Howard, Artist & Aristocrat: A Centenary Exhibition, Castle Howard, York, 2011. There are probably other portraits of Legros in two large sketchbooks at Castle Howard, awaiting cataloguing (Sept. 2011).

Etching by C.J. Durham, head, profile to right; NPG D18055 (unlettered impression, inscr. in pencil ‘Coll. F. Goulding / A mon ami F Goulding / C.J. Durham’).

exh. 1872
Terracotta bust by Joseph Edgar Boehm; untraced. Exh. RA 1872 (1407).

Bronze bust by Aimé-Jules Dalou; see NPG 5313.

publ. 1877
Etching by Frédéric Régamey, head-and-shoulders, turned to left, head turned to right; colls BM, London, 1879,0510.400; and NPG D18056 (inscr. in pencil ‘Aetatis XL’). Repr. as photogravure Poulet-Malassis & Thibaudeau 1877, frontispiece.[5]

Etching by George Frederic Watts, dated 1879; untraced. Exh. RA Winter 1905 (114, coll. M.H. Spielmann).

Etching by George Frederic Watts on laid paper, head, profile to right, under a head of Mrs Frederick Myers; NPG D18062 (inscr. on mount ‘First state and probably unique / From the collection of R Guéraut / Trial proof’);[6] NPG D18059 (inscr. on mount ‘Second state, very rare / from the coll. Mrs George Hopkins (née Marie Guéraut)’); NPG D18060 (inscr. in pencil below plate ‘Portrait of Alphonse Legros / Etched by GF Watts RA about 1879 / Coll. F. Goulding. Imp.’ and on mount ‘Second state, very rare. / From the collection of Frederick Goulding. Master Printer’).
Another etched portrait by Watts; V&A, London, CAI.276.

Chalk drawing on brown paper by Rudolf Lehmann, inscr. and dated 22 Feb. 1880, head-and-shoulders to left; BM, London, 1932,0223.1.
Crayon drawing by Lehmann; coll. M. d’Orsay, Paris.

Drypoint by Joseph Benwell Clark, signed and dated within plate, head-and-shoulders, three-quarters to right; NPG D18054 (unlettered impression).

Bronze head by Auguste Rodin; Manchester AG, 1912.20 (the finished bronze, with dedication to Legros on socle). Repr. Bowness 1970, p.98; and Lampert, Romain et al. 2006, no.31. Further bronze casts; colls Fitzwilliam M., Cambridge, M.1-1959; M. Rodin, Paris; and M. d’Orsay, Paris, RF2246;LUX151. Repr. in wood-engr. (profile view) by A. Leveillé MA, 1888, p.143 (cutting BM, London, 1895,0617.724; ref. O’Donoghue 1908–22, vol.3, Legros 6).[7]

Gouache and ink drawing by Paul Albert Besnard, three-quarter-length, seated in studio with etching plate; M. d’Orsay, Paris, RF39144;LUX84D. Repr. as photogravure by Jules Adolphe Chauvet, for Les maîtres du dessin, publ. M. du Luxembourg, Paris, 1883 (pl.XXX, captioned ‘Portrait de l’acquafortiste Legros / Aquarelle’); impressions colls. BM, London, 1900,0411.363; and NPG D16214. Ref. O’Donoghue 1908–22, vol.3, Legros (1).

Oil on canvas by Paul Albert Besnard, head-and-shoulders; coll. Mr and Mrs Donald M. Jones. Ref. Art Forum, Oct. 1963, p.34.

Wood-engr. by ‘HMP’, The Life Class, standing at right; repr. MA, 1883, p.328.

Terracotta bust by Maria Zambaco; untraced. Exh. RA 1886 (1844).

Cast bronze medal by Gustave Deloye, head-and-shoulders, profile to right; BM, London, C&M M6598. Repr. Attwood 1992, fig.1.

Drypoint, 254 x 305mm, by William Strang, Taking the Oath, as figure in a group of ten; ed. of about 30, printed by Frederick Golding; impressions colls BM, London, 1949,0411.1803; Glasgow M., PR.1920.6.fn. Ref. Strang 1962 no.160 (131). Repr. Strang 1912, no.131, p.55.

Drypoint by William Strang, A sale of prints at Sotheby’s, half-length, profile to right, with black hat and beard, in group of eight figures; BM, London, 1953,0509.115. Ref. Strang 1962, no.172.

Oil on canvas by Charles Shannon; untraced. Exh. Legros, Tate, London, 1912 (5, coll. Legros).

Lithograph by Charles Shannon, three-quarter-length, seated to left with sculpture; colls BM, London, 1899,0321.13; NPG Archive, D37263; UCL, EDC 3678 (exh. Men and Memories, UCL, 1981 [23]); Manchester CAG, 1909,25.[8] Repr. AJ, 1902, p.44.

Lithographs by William Rothenstein, two poses:
(a) head-and-shoulders to left, arms folded; colls BM, London, 1896,1228.13; and NPG D18051. Ref. Rothenstein 1926, no.39.
(b) half-length, to left, head in profile, arms folded; repr. Rothenstein 1931–2, vol.1, facing p.23.[9]

Etching by Charles Holroyd, head-and-shoulders to right, nearly in profile; colls BM, London, 1918,0608.361 (‘Alphonse Legros No.1’); and Fitzwilliam M., Cambridge, P.198-1949. Repr. MA, 1903, p.334.

Pencil drawing on grey paper by William Rothenstein, head-and-shoulders, full-face; untraced; coll. FAS, London, 1978. Ref. Rothenstein 1926, no.94.

Lithograph by William Rothenstein, three-quarter-length, standing to left, wearing top hat; colls NPG D18050 and NPG D32096; Leeds AG, LEEAG.1921.0934; and UCL Art Colls, EPC 1757. Publ. Rothenstein 1898a, no.13. Ref. Rothenstein 1926, no.60.

Lithograph by William Rothenstein, three-quarter-length, seated to right, wearing top hat; NPG D20931 and NPG D37264. Publ. Rothenstein 1898b. Ref. Rothenstein 1926, no.61.

Lithographic chalk drawing by William Rothenstein, over half-length, seated facing left; untraced; coll. the artist, 1926. Ref. Rothenstein 1926, no.126.

Coloured chalks drawing on brown paper by Charles Shannon, head to left; untraced; ex-Bliss coll., Christie’s, NY, 10 Mar. 1972 (1), bought FAS. Related to the oil painting below, see ‘1899’.

exh. 1898
Portrait by George Frederic Watts; untraced. Exh. RSPP 1898 (156).

Oil on canvas by Charles Shannon; see NPG 2551.

Lithograph by William Rothenstein, half-length, seated, profile to left, back turned; NPG D18058 (inscribed in pencil ‘3 copies only printed’). Ref. Rothenstein 1926, no.105.

Oil painting by Charles Holroyd, profile to left; Tate, N03398.

Drypoint by Dorothea Landau, bust-length, profile to right; BM, London, 1949,0411.330.

Pencil, chalk [or charcoal], pen, ink and watercolour drawing by William Orpen; see NPG 6345.

Black, brown and white crayon drawing by Edward Robert Hughes; Fitzwilliam M., Cambridge, 750, on long term loan to Scientific Periodicals Library).

Drypoint by Edward Robert Hughes, head, three-quarters to right; NPG D18057 (proof state, inscr. in pencil ‘To A. Legros from ERHughes’).
A related pencil head by Hughes dated 30 Aug. 1905; untraced; Christie’s, 25 Apr. 1978 (312).

exh. 1905
Etching by Charles Holroyd, head-and-shoulders, full-face, slightly to left; colls NPG D18053, proof state, ex-colls. F.E. Bliss and Frederick Goulding; and Aberdeen AG, ABDAG006306.

exh. 1906, 1914
Bronze bust by Edouard Lantéri; UCL. Exh. RA 1906 (1668) and 1914 (2064); and Men and Memories, UCL, 1981 (11).

Oil on canvas by William Strang, half-length, full-face, holding palette and brushes; untraced; Sotheby’s, 1 Sept. 1999 (1136, ill.). Exh. The Artist as Portrait, FAS, London, 2000 (82). The painting is undated but relates to a 1910 drypoint, head only, full-face; colls BM, London, 1953,0509.339; and Glasgow M., PR.1955.12 and PR.1962.18.742. Ref. Strang 1962, no.625; repr. Strang 1912, no.511.

Etching by William Strang, based on 1899 photograph (see below), here reversed; colls BM, London, 1949,0411.1904 (inscr. ‘To Campbell Dodgson from Wm Strang / Sep.1913’); NPG D18052 (inscr. ‘To FE Bliss from Wm Strang’); Glasgow M., PR.1921.11 and PR.1962.8; and Aberdeen AG, ABDAG007077.

exh. 1913
?Drawing by Hilda M. Pemberton; untraced. Exh. RA 1913 (1527, in RA ‘Black and White Room’).

Doubtful portrait
Chalk drawing by unidentified artist, possibly Legros, undated, of an elderly man and a woman, possibly Legros with a daughter; untraced; priv. coll., 1981. Photograph NPG SB (Legros).

Photographsback to top

Albumen print by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson); see NPG P1273(20a).

late 1860s
Albumen print, 214 x 163mm, by David Wilkie Wynfield, half-length, full-face; RA, London, 03/6944. Repr. Hacking 2000, no.39; and Maas 1984, p.157.

Photograph by unidentified photographer, half-length, turned to right, hair still dark, beard grizzled; The Rob Dickins Coll., Watts G., Compton, COMWG2008.3541.

publ. 1882
Photograph by Elliott & Fry, head-and-shoulders, three-quarters to left; wood-engr. by Moritz Klinkicht repr. MA, 1882, p.329.

Photograph by unidentified photographer (?Elliott & Fry), head-and-shoulders; repr. Bliss 1923, frontispiece (captioned ‘age 50’).

publ. 1893
Photographs by Elliott & Fry, two known poses:
(a) head-and-shoulders to left; repr. as halftone MA, 1893, p.70.
(b) three-quarter-length, seated, slightly less to left than (a); repr. as halftone The Year’s Art 1898, opp. p.64.

Silver print by unidentified photographer, whole-length to right, seated sketching at folding table; colls NPG x87224; and UCL. Repr. Bliss 1923, facing p.ix (captioned ‘age 62’); and Legros 1974. See also the related 1913 etching by Strang above.

Photographs by George Charles Beresford, several known poses.
Sepia platinotype prints:
(a) head raised, three-quarters to right; NPG x13483.
(b) head, three-quarters to right, eyes extreme right; colls NPG x13484; and V&A, London, 703-1943 and 15-1957.
(c) head lowered, eyes lowered; colls NPG x13485; and V&A, London, 702-1943.
d) head, three-quarters to right, looking to right; NPG x13486.
Half-plate glass negatives:
(e) head-and-shoulders, looking at spectator; NPG x6532.
(f) head-and-shoulders, looking to right; NPG x6533.

Photograph by Fradelle & Young, seated to the right of Auguste Rodin, at the banquet for Rodin at the South Kensington Schools of Art, 25 May 1903; M. Rodin, Paris, Ph.1629.

Glossy vintage photograph by unidentified photographer, whole-length, seated to left, out of doors, with his wife Frances Rosetta Legros; NPG x87225.

1) Catalogued by Louvre 1995 as ‘tête d’homme âgé … pointe d’argent’. Exh. [as goldpoint], Legros, M. du Luxembourg, Paris, June 1900.
2) Holroyd 1912 and Wilcox 2004 cite a goldpoint, as well as the pencil drawing, in the Uffizi, Florence.
3) The first state, before the plate was cut, was of a three-quarter-length figure.
4) ‘…done from Alphonse Legros, though painted in from him just as he was in the first instance, is to be quite differently continued, to represent a sort of Spanish sailor.’ Letter from D.G. Rossetti to J. Leathart, 15 Dec. 1863, MSS Coll., U. of British Columbia.
5) Legros made prints of Régamey: see Poulet-Malassis & Thibaudeau 1877, nos 22 (drypoint) and 23 (lithograph), undated, c.1870s.
6) The most important in the collection of 13 portrait prints of Legros, ex-collection F.E. Bliss, purchased for £10 from W. MacDonald (dealer) for the NPG Reference Collection in 1945 (NPG D18050–62).
7) At the same time Legros painted a portrait of Rodin which he presented to the sculptor (oils, 1882; M. Rodin, Paris, P.7316); Rodin described it as ‘one of the objects I hold most dear’.
8) Fifty proofs printed by the artist, scarce.
9) This may relate to Rothenstein 1926, no.40.

Carol Blackett-Ord