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Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

John Callcott Horsley (1817-1903), Painter and Royal Academician

Painter; born 29 January 1817, in London, son of composer William Horsley. Entered Royal Academy Schools 1831; cartoons and frescoes for new Houses of Parliament 1840s; headmaster, National Art Training School, 1845–7; early patron of Norman Shaw who remodelled his house at Cranbrook, Kent; exh. RA 1839–96 (genre, costume pieces, portraits); elected ARA 1855, RA 1864; as treasurer deeply involved in affairs of the Academy; prime mover of RA Winter exhibitions 1875–90; died 19 October 1903, in London.

I may add that the work of hunting up ‘old masters’ suited me perfectly, bringing into play such small gifts in the way of tact and temper as I possess, and my keen interest in, and devotion to, the art of the past had given me a considerable knowledge of the work of different schools and men.[1]

He will be chiefly remembered at the Academy for the part he took in organising the epoch-making series of ‘Old Masters’ at Burlington House. From 1875 to 1890 he was the moving spirit of these exhibitions. He was indefatigable in searching for desirable pictures, and in persuading their owners to lend. For such duties he was remarkably well fitted, being at once extremely popular and yet quite ready with his ‘no’ when inadmissible claims were made on behalf of this or that ‘masterpiece.’[2]

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) Horsley 1903, p.289.
2) Armstrong 1912b.

Referencesback to top

Anon 1857
Anon., ‘British artists, their style and character: no. XXV, John Callcott Horsley’, Art Journal, 1857, pp.181–4.

Armstrong 1912b
Armstrong, W., ‘Horsley, John Callcott, 1817–1903’, DNB, London, 1912.

Cope 1891
Cope, C.H., Reminiscences of Charles West Cope RA, London, 1891.

Furniss 1890b
Furniss, H., Royal Academy Antics, London, 1890.

Girouard 1973
Girouard, M., ‘A Young Architect in Kent: Early Norman Shaw Commissions I’, Country Life vol.154, 1973, pp.554–7.

Horsley 1903
Horsley, J.C. Recollections of a Royal Academician, ed. E. Helps, London, 1903.

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

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

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.

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

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

Ormond 1973
Ormond, R., National Portrait Gallery: Early Victorian Portraits, London, 1973.

Pointon 1979
Pointon, M., William Dyce, 1806–1864: A Critical Biography, Oxford, 1979.

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].

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

Valentine 2004
Valentine, H., ‘Horsley, John Callcott (1817–1903)’, ODNB, Oxford, online ed., September 2004.

Walkley 1994
Walkley, G., Artists’ Houses in London 1764–1914, Aldershot, 1994.