attributed to Archibald John Stuart Wortley
oil on canvas, 1885-1905
35 1/2 in. x 27 1/2 in. (902 mm x 699 mm)
Given by Marylebone Cricket Club and other cricket clubs, 1926
Sitterback to top
- William Gilbert ('W.G') Grace (1848-1915), Cricketer and medical practitioner. Sitter in 9 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Archibald John Stuart Wortley (1849-1905), Painter. Artist or producer associated with 3 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- 100 Portraits, p. 90
- Smartify image discovery app
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 257
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 176 Read entry
One of the great celebrities of the later Victorian period, W. G. Grace earned a special place in national life thanks to his cricketing triumphs. He made his debut at Lord’s and the Oval in the summer of 1864 and scored his first century in the same year. In an extraordinary career in first-class cricket between 1865 and 1908 he scored 54,896 runs, averaging 39.55, and took 2,876 wickets (average 17.92). He exemplifies the transformation of cricket into the modern sport with its structure of county championship and test matches, its technical development and its international reach. Portly and bearded, Grace was instantly recognisable and attracted spectators in vast numbers.
Authorship of this portrait remains uncertain and there was much speculation as to who painted it at the time of its acquisition in 1926. But the existence of a drawing by Archibald Wortley (1849–1905) that is clearly related to the oil, and is monogrammed and dated 1890, strongly suggests that it is by him.