George Frederic Watts
- Extended Catalogue Entry
George Frederic Watts
by George Frederic Watts
oil on canvas, circa 1879
26 1/8 in. x 20 7/8 in. (663 mm x 531 mm)
Given by the executors of the sitter's estate, 1905
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- George Frederic Watts (1817-1904), Painter and sculptor. Sitter in 43 portraits, Artist associated with 91 portraits.
Artistback to top
- George Frederic Watts (1817-1904), Painter and sculptor. Artist associated with 91 portraits, Sitter in 43 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This is a version of a larger self-portrait Watts made for the famous series of artists’ self-portraits held by the Uffizi Gallery in Florence that shows Watts holding a palette and standing before his painting, Time, Death and Judgement (Tate). Watts often worked on several versions of a picture at the same time, finally selecting the one to be finished and exhibited. In order to depict his own profile, the artist used two mirrors, and the composition and costume echo the self-portraits by the Italian Renaissance painter Titian, whom Watts greatly admired.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Funnell, Peter (introduction); Marsh, Jan, A Guide to Victorian and Edwardian Portraits, 2011, p. 14
- Funnell, Peter; Warner, Malcolm, Millais: Portraits, 1999 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 19 February to 6 June 1999), p. 29
- Rideal, Liz, Insights: Self-portraits, 2005, p. 12
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 646
- Truss, Lynn, Tennyson and his Circle, 2015, p. 61
- Truss, Lynne, Character Sketches: Tennyson and His Circle, 1999, p. 31
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1879back to top
Current affairsWomen's education continues to grow, with the founding of women's colleges in Oxford. Somerville College took its name from the late Scottish scientific writer Mary Somerville. Lady Margaret Hall was founded by Elizabeth Wordsworth, great niece of the poet, and named after Margaret Beaufort, a medieval noblewoman and mother of Henry VII.
Art and scienceEdison invents the first practical electric light bulb.
The first prehistoric paintings, dating back 14,000 years, are discovered in the Altamira caves in Northern Spain when a young girl notices paintings of bison on the ceilings.
The French actress Sarah Bernhardt, already acclaimed for roles in plays such as Racine's Phèdre and Victor Hugo's Hernani, celebrates a successful season at London's Gaiety Theatre.
InternationalAnglo-Zulu war fought between British forces and the Zulus, after disputes between the Boers and Zulu leader Cetshywayo over the Utrecht border attracted British intervention. The British victory marked the end of the independent Zulu nation, although the Zulu's initial victory at Isandhlwana was a major surprise. The Battle of Rorke's Drift was dramatised in the film Zulu, starring Michael Caine, in 1964.
See this portrait
On display in Room 26 at the National Portrait Gallery
- G.F. Watts Portraits: Fame & Beauty in Victorian Society
- Collected Archives - T-Z
- The Watts Collection
- Watts handlist
- Room 26: Portraits by G.F. Watts
- Only Connect
- Only Connect - installation video
- Room 26: G.F. Watts Bicentenary
- Princes of Victorian Bohemia: Photographs by David Wilkie Wynfield
- Julia Margaret Cameron:
'Poets, prophets, painters and lovely maidens'
- Portrait of the Day: Julie Margaret Cameron
15 December, 12:30
Tell us more
Help us conserve a portrait of a female adventurer, poet and medical pioneer