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Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Sir Lionel Henry Cust (1859-1929), Art historian; Director of the National Portrait Gallery

Art historian; born 25 January 1859 in London, only son of Sir R.J. Cust, barrister. Educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge; ‘a quiet, struggling Civil Servant’ from 1882; transferred from War Office to Dept. of Prints and Drawings, British Museum 1884; appointed director of the National Portrait Gallery 1895, resigned 1909; Surveyor of the King’s Pictures and Gentleman Usher to Edward VII and George V, 1901–27; publications include studies and monographs on Hans Eworth and Van Dyck and articles for Dictionary of National Biography; joint editor with Roger Fry of the Burlington Magazine 1909–19; KCVO 1927; married Sybil Lyttleton 1895; died Datchet House, Datchet, Buckinghamshire, 12 October 1929.

In his young days Lionel was strikingly handsome: a photograph taken at his best shows him with his flower-wreathed hat when in the Boats at Eton. In old age too he was very picturesque, with his white hair and beautiful eyes that kept their brightness to the end: they were sapphire-blue, with long black lashes.[1]

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

[1] Sybil Cust, memoir of L.H. Cust in Cust 1930, p.xxiii.

Referencesback to top

Beerbohm 1921
Beerbohm, M., A Survey, London, 1921.

Binyon 2004a
Binyon, L., ‘Cust, Sir Lionel Henry (1859–1929)’, rev. C. Lloyd, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; online ed., May 2006.

Cust 1930
Cust, Sir L.H., King Edward VII and his Court: Some Reminiscences, London, 1930.

Hart-Davis 1972
Hart-Davis, R., A Catalogue of the Caricatures of Max Beerbohm, London, 1972.

Holmes 1936
Holmes, Sir C.J., Self and Partners (Mostly Self), London, 1936.

London 1907–9
Prominent Men of London, Shaftesbury Press, London, 1907–9

Marillier 1926
Marillier, H.C., Christie’s 1766–1925, London, 1926.

Millar 1977
Millar, O., The Queen’s Pictures, London, 1977.

Simon 1996
Simon, J., The Art of the Picture Frame, exh. cat., NPG, London, 1996.

Trendell 1912
Trendell, H.A.P., Dress Worn at His Majesty’s Court, London, 1912.