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James Anthony Froude

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James Anthony Froude

by Sir George Reid
oil on canvas, 1881
13 5/8 in. x 9 1/4 in. (346 mm x 235 mm)
Purchased, 1974
Primary Collection
NPG 4990

Images

This enriched fluted pattern of French origin…

Sitterback to top

  • James Anthony Froude (1818-1894), Historian and editor of 'Fraser's Magazine'. Sitter associated with 29 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir George Reid (1841-1913), Portrait and landscape painter. Artist associated with 15 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Born near Totnes in Devon and educated at Oxford, Froude became a fellow of Exeter College in 1842. In 1849 his book The Nemesis of Faith was burnt by the sub-rector and Froude resigned his fellowship. A follower of Thomas Carlyle, between 1856-70 Froude published his account of the History of England during the sixteenth century. The frame to this portrait is an enriched fluted pattern of French origin, one of four designs favoured by the artist.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Foister, Susan, Cardinal Newman 1801-90, 1990 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 2 March - 20 May 1990), p. 64 Read entry

    A younger brother of Hurrell Froude, he was an undergraduate at Oriel from 1835 to 1842, where his brother had been a Fellow, and in 1842 was elected a Fellow of Exeter College. He was strongly influenced by Newman, although not close to him, and visited Newman at Littlemore in the early 1840s. Newman commissioned him to write the 'Life of St Neot' in the series The Lives of the Saints published in 1844.

    Froude did not however follow his contemporaries to Rome, but was already reacting against it in the late 1840s. His novel, The Nemesis of Faith (1849) includes Newman as a character who rescues the hero from suicide. It caused controversy and on the day it was publicly burnt Froude resigned as a Fellow of Exeter. In 1849 he met Thomas Carlyle, and shortly afterwards, married to the sister of Charles Kingsley, he settled down to write History of England (1856-70), much admired by Kingsley.

    In 1853 Macmillan's Magazine sent the seventh and eighth volumes of Froude's History of Enfland to Charles Kingsley for review. Kingsley's enthusiastic review contained the notorious attack on Newman's truthfulness which led to the publication of Apologia Pro Vita Sua.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 232
  • Simon, Jacob, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain, 1997 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 8 November 1996 - 9 February 1997), p. 66, 176 Read entry

    Gilt compo on pine, mitred and pinned, the appearance of fluting achieved by tooling the gesso, the stepped inner sight mouldings fixed with screws to the main frame, the gilding in original condition except for some regilding of the flat areas, the corner ribbons, fluting and fillet burnished on a plum bole with a further coat of black bole, the sight edge on a red bole. 4 3⁄ 8 inches wide.

    George Reid, the leading Scottish portraitist, landscape painter and illustrator, worked extensively in his native Aberdeen, in Edinburgh, and occasionally in London. Reid had most of his portraits framed in one of four standard styles, all of very high quality:

    • an enriched fluted pattern of French origin, used from at least 1881 to 1892, with laurel leaf top and wide acanthus leaves at the mitres, of which this portrait of the historian and writer, James Froude, is a good example. Other examples are Sir Heny Frere, 1881, in the National Portrait Gallery, and Dr John Brown, 1881, and Prof. J. S. Blackie, c.1892, both in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The type is also found on some of Francis Grant's work (see NPG 6338).

    • an enriched leaf pattern, in use from at least 1881 to 1894, with elaborate laurel leaf top, rich ogee leaf sides, a row of pearls and a sanded flat, for example the William Skene of 1888 in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery with a frame made by John Kesson of Aberdeen.

    • a Watts frame, with a flat husk sight, used on Reid's head sketches in the 1890s, including portraits of Samuel Smiles in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, the former with the framemaker's label of John Kesson, the latter with that of Kesson & MacDonald of Aberdeen.

    • a Maratta frame of very high quality, used on commissioned and presentation portraits in the early 1900s, of which the portrait of the scientist, Sir Oliver Lodge (NPG 3952), is typical.

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1881back to top

Current affairs

Benjamin Disraeli dies of bronchitis. He refuses a state funeral and is buried next to his wife, Mary Ann Viscountess Beaconsfield.
Gladstone's Irish Land Act is passed in a bid to stop violence carried out by the republican Land League, conducted in protest at the 1870 Land Act.
Henry Mayers Hyndman forms the Marxist Democratic Federation.

Art and science

The Natural History Museum is opened on Exhibition Road, South Kensington. The museum, a landmark gothic design by the architect Alfred Waterhouse, was built to house specimens from the natural sciences, previously in the British Museum's collection. Today, the museum comprises of over 70 million items, and is a world-renowned research centre.

International

Alexander II is assassinated in a bomb attack by members of a left-wing revolutionary movement. He was succeeded by his son, Tsar Alexander III.
US President James Garfield is shot by Charles Guiteau.
The first Anglo-Boer war ends. The war is started by a Boer uprising, as the British had annexed the Transvaal in 1877. Following Britain's defeat at the Battle of Majuba Hill, a truce is signed giving the Boers self-government and later independence.

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