Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Marcus Clayton Stone (1840-1921), Genre painter and illustrator; son of Frank Stone

Historical genre painter and illustrator; born 4 July 1840 in London, the son of artist Frank Stone. Never formally trained (‘I was not taught I “picked up”’); [1] early career as an illustrator, with Charles Dickens, neighbour and family friend, providing commissions in the 1860s; [2] exhibited at Royal Academy every year between 1858 and 1920; first great success a history painting, On the Road from Waterloo to Paris (RA 1863; Guildhall AG, London); from mid-1870s became best known for sentimental scenes in early 19th-century settings, one of which, Il y en a toujours un autre, or, A Prior Attachment (RA 1882; Tate), purchased by RA; though not prolific amassed wealth and fame through the licensing of popular, affordable prints after the paintings; [3] elected ARA 1876, RA 1886; commissioned Richard Norman Shaw to build a studio-house, 8 Melbury Road, Kensington, where he lived with wife Laura Mary Howard Broun from 1876 until death, 24 March 1921.

Tall and handsome, he was known as ‘Marcus Apollo Belvedere Stone’ by fellow members of the Arts Club. The vanity hinted at in obituary notices (‘Marcus Stone, lover of arts and cats, devotee of gentlemanly attire, and of his own elegance and refinement’) [4] was offset by a private dissatisfaction with his finished paintings, as noted in an autobiographical sketch written towards the end of his life: ‘At no time have I brought the production of a picture to a conclusion without a keen sense of failure. To exhibit a picture is like publishing evidence of incapacity.’ [5]

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) M. Stone, MS ‘Autograph reminiscences’, compiled 1910–12, Dickens House M., London.
2) ‘Marcus Stone was, I am very certain, Dickens’s favourite among all the young men that worshipped him in the last decade or so of his life.’ J.W.T. Ley, The Dickens Circle: A Narrative of the Novelist’s Friendships, London, 1919, p.147.
3) Fletcher 2011.
4) The Times, 26 Mar. 1921, p.11 (obit.)
5) M. Stone, MS ‘Autograph reminiscences’, compiled 1910–12, Dickens House M, London.

Referencesback to top

Baldry 1896a
Baldry, A.L., ‘The Life and Work of Marcus Stone’, The Art Annual for 1896 Art Journal Christmas number), 1896.

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.

Dakers 1999
Dakers, C., The Holland Park Circle: Artists and Victorian Society, New Haven and London, 1999.

Dickens 1970
Charles Dickens: An Exhibition to Commemorate the Centenary of His Death, exh. cat., Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1970.

Fletcher 2011
Fletcher, P., ‘Stone, Marcus Clayton (1840–1921)’, ODNB, Oxford, online ed., May 2011.

Furniss 1923
Furniss, H., Some Victorian Women: Good, Bad and Indifferent, London, 1923.

Maas 1984
Maas, J., The Victorian Art World in Photographs, London, 1984.

Robinson [1892]
Robinson, R.W., Members and Associates of the Royal Academy of Arts, 1891. Photographed in their Studios by Ralph W. Robinson of Redhill, n.p., [1892].

Ward [1924]
Ward, E.M., Memories of Ninety Years, London [1924].