- Extended Catalogue Entry
by George Frederic Watts
oil on canvas, 1868
26 in. x 21 in. (660 mm x 533 mm)
Given by George Frederic Watts, 1895
Sitterback to top
- Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Historian and essayist. Sitter associated with 84 portraits.
Artistback to top
- George Frederic Watts (1817-1904), Painter and sculptor. Artist associated with 92 portraits, Sitter in 43 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Carlyle famously complained of Watts's portrait that it was decidedly the most insufferable picture that has yet been made of me, a delirious looking mountebank full of violence, awkardness, atrocity, and stupidity...the fault of Watts is a passionate pursuit of strength.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- Smartify image discovery app
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 78
- John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 78 Read entry
Carlyle was a harsh, acerbic man and an impatient sitter; the sensitive Watts was given a rough ride, despite their shared views on the historical significance of portraiture. Carlyle said Watts had made him look like a ‘mad labourer’ (which he was, according to G. K. Chesterton) and told him: ‘Mon, I would have ye known I am in the habit of wurin’ clean linen!’
- Ormond, Richard, Early Victorian Portraits, 1973, p. 88
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 104
Events of 1868back to top
Current affairsFollowing the Earl of Derby's resignation, Benjamin Disraeli becomes Prime Minister. However, following a near immediate Liberal election victory, he is replaced as Prime Minister by Gladstone. Gladstone sets out his mission to 'pacify Ireland'.
Separately, the first meeting of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is held in Manchester.
Public executions are abolished, and are moved from outside Newgate gaol to inside the prison.
Art and scienceWilkie Collins's The Moonstone published. Credited with writing the first sensation novel The Woman in White, Collins's claims another first here, as the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the Herncastle diamond, is recognised as one of the first detective novels.
InternationalAn uprising against Spanish rule in Cuba sparks off the Ten Years' War, in which 200,000 lives are lost. Cubans in the eastern provinces unite under wealthy planter Carlos Manuel de Cespedes. Another armed uprising takes place against Spanish rule in the town of Lares in Puerto Rico, known as the 'Grito de Lares'.
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- Abolition Trail
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