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Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

William Rathbone (1819-1902), Merchant and philanthropist; pioneer organiser of nursing services

Paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints

Paintings, drawings, sculptures and printsback to top

Oil on canvas, 1900 x 3500mm, by Arthur Hughes and Frederic James Shields, The Central Executive Cotton Famine Relief Committee, head-and-shoulders to left, standing in group portrait with 31 other men, no.25 in key; Manchester Town Hall, THP038001. Ref. Roberts & Wildman 1997, no.103.
Outline engr. of above work with key, publ. c.1870 by Thomas Agnew & Sons Ltd, Manchester; repr. Roberts & Wildman 1997, p.175; and Revealing Histories website.
The committee, established to relieve poverty in the textile districts of north-west England following the interruption of supplies of cotton during the US Civil War, is depicted ‘assembled prior to business, in the Committee Room, Town Hall, Manchester’; [1] it met from Aug. 1862 to July 1869. The painting was commissioned in 1868 by local photographer Lachlan McLachlan, who took members’ likenesses, which were then assembled by Shields into a ‘photographic collage’, from which the painting was executed by Hughes in monochrome ‘with the assistance of Albert Goodwin’ (Roberts & Wildman 1997, p.175). [2] It took five years to complete.

?Bust by Hargreaves Bond, no details; untraced; formerly in Liverpool Reform Club. Ref. Pedersen 2004.

publ. 1894
Design by Will Morgan, signed and captioned ‘Mr William Rathbone M.P. / Carnarvonshire (North or Arfon)’, whole-length, half-profile to left, standing, holding Welsh-language newspaper; untraced. Repr. as lithograph in Williams 1894.

Bronze statue, 3000mm high, by Sir George Frampton, signed and dated, whole-length, standing, wearing academic robe; St John’s Gardens, Liverpool (unveiled 26 July 1901). Plaque on plinth: ‘A guardian of the poor in Liverpool for thirty-five years. A founder of the University of Liverpool and of the University of Wales. Instituted the training school for nurses and brought trained nurses into the homes of the poor and suffering first in Liverpool and later throughout the country.’ Ref. Cavanagh 1997, pp.171–3; repr. p.172. Described by contemporaries as very ‘vivid in presentation’ (Liverpool Mercury, 27 July 1901). See ‘Monument to William Rathbone’, Victorian Web.
Plaster bust by Frampton; untraced. Exh. RA 1899 (1928); Liverpool Autumn Exh., Walker AG, 1899 (1425) as ‘William Rathbone Esq / plaster bust / not for sale’.

Bronze medal by Charles John Allen; see NPG 4018.
Plaster model, 150mm diam., signed and inscr. on obverse ‘William Rathbone Medal for Engineering / 1899 / 80th birthday’; U. of Liverpool, Victoria GM, FA.1585. Exh. Liverpool Autumn Exh., Walker AG, 1899 (1432), titled ‘Model for William Rathbone Medal for Engineering, University College Liverpool’.
Another bronze cast, 135mm diam., U. of Liverpool, Victoria GM, FA.1495. Exh. RA 1900 (1962); Medallic Art, Liverpool, 1917 (II/3); and The Art Sheds 1894–1905, Walker AG, Liverpool, 1981 (10). Repr. Walker Art Gallery 1981, pl.10 (obv. and rev.); and Clough 2003, p.49.

Oil on canvas, 760 x 620mm, attributed to P. Collings, half-length, profile to right, bald with side-whiskers, wearing brown greatcoat, white cravat with pin, red drapery and classical column in background; Bangor U., OP00146. Apparently painted from an undated photograph (see below, ‘All known portraits, Photographs, Undated’).

Bronze bust, 480mm high, by Charles John Allen, inscr. ‘WILLIAM / RATHBONE / VIRTUTE EXTENDERE VIRES / WILLIAM RATHBONE / VICE-PRESIDENT / OF / UNIVERSITY COLLEGE / 1882–1901’, very long side-whiskers, loosely knotted tie; U. of Liverpool, Victoria GM, FA.1581. Exh. Liverpool Autumn Exhibition, Walker AG, 1901(1548); [3] Walker AG, 1981(8); and Walker AG, 2003 (no cat. no.); repr. Walker Art Gallery 1981, pl.4; Clough 2003, p.51.

Works by Charles John Allen, listed in Clough 2003, p.103:
(a) marble bust, 480mm; Queen’s Nursing Inst., London. Exh. RA 1913 (1881).
(b) bronze bust, 480mm, long side-whiskers, loosely knotted tie; U. of Liverpool. Repr. Clough 2003, p.51.
(c) marble relief plaque on memorial, Unitarian Church, Ullet Rd, Liverpool. Ref. Mooney 1996.
(d) bronze plaque, 230 x 150mm, inscr. lower right: ‘C.J. Allen. 1902’, embossed lower left: ‘WILLIAM RATHBONE / 1819–1902’, head-and-shoulders; U. of Liverpool, Victoria GM, FA.2952.
(e) another cast of (d), mounted on wood; priv. coll.

Undated portraits
Oil on canvas, possibly by William Blake Richmond, bust-length to front, gaze to left, bald with side-whiskers, wearing dark coat, white shirt and dark tie with pin; Rathbones plc, Liverpool.

Photographsback to top

Albumen carte-de-visite by Elliott & Fry, half-length, seated to left, bald with long side-whiskers, wearing buttoned double-breasted coat; NPG x12794.

Photograph by unidentified photographer, half-length, profile to right, bald with side-whiskers, wearing greatcoat with wide lapels and Persian lamb collar, pale cravat with pin; copy-print in NPG SB described as ‘photograph of a photograph in the possession of his great-grandson William Rathbone IX Old Cloth Hall, Cranbrook, Kent’. Repr. Tooley 1906, facing p.288 (with facsimile inscription and signature; see Wellcome Images L0017620); and Pedersen 2004.

Undated photograph
Photograph by unidentified photographer; Bangor U. Archive, UCNW/PHO/1/23.

Footnotesback to top

1) Text from outline engraving.
2) Correspondence from Hughes to Shields indicates that the latter was involved both in liaising with McLachlan and painting some passages; and suggests the existence of an untraced preliminary sketch (Roberts & Wildman 1997, no.103.2), for which Hughes declined to make individual portraits. ‘It is a task of the severest, the getting those likenesses quite right, and I think only to be done once.’ Letter from Hughes to F.J. Shields, 9 Oct. 1868, quoted Roberts & Wildman 1997, p.176.
3) ‘The busts of principal Oliver Lodge, William Rathbone Esq. and Mrs Dowdall by Charles J. Allen are each of high quality of merit’; Studio, 1901, vol.24, p.13.

Dr Jan Marsh