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Jerome Klapka Jerome

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Jerome Klapka Jerome

by Philip Alexius de László
oil on canvas, 1921
36 in. x 28 in. (914 mm x 711 mm)
Bequeathed by the sitter's widow, Georgina Elizabeth Henrietta Stanley Jerome (née Marris), 1966
Primary Collection
NPG 4491


This fine quality Spanish 17th-century style…

Sitterback to top

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Linked publicationsback to top

  • Smartify image discovery app
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 337
  • 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. 109, 184 Read entry

    Carved and gilt pine, mitred and keyed, the keys visible from the front, water gilt on a red bole, burnished in part and finely stippled in black for effect. 4 inches wide. With the label, largely obscured, of Emile Remy, apparently of the same form as that on Lavery’s portrait of Sir Lionel Cust.

    De Laszlo claimed that the frame was 'an integral part of the picture' and should be chosen before beginning a painting. The reality may have been rather different on occasion, judging from the framing history of this portrait of the author, Jerome K. Jerome, painted in 1921. De Laszlo used a wide range of frame styles and when his photographer, Paul Laib, photographed this picture on completion it was framed in one of the artist's standard Italianate cassetta frames with gilt incised floral corner decoration on a black ground, of a type founds for example, on his 5th Marquess of Lansdowne of 1920 in the National Portrait Gallery. The style sits heavily on a work of as pale a tonality as the Jerome portrait.

    By 1926, however, the portrait had been reframed in its present Spanish reverse section frame.1 The style was used by De Laszlo in the 1910s and 1920s either completely gilt as here or with the plain sides stained black.2 The use of such Spanish frames had been popularised by J. S. Sargent (see NPG 4837) and William Orpen in the early 1900s.

    This particular frame has an incredibly thin outer edge so that the diagonal keys fitted across the rear of the mitres at each corner are visible as hairline cracks on the front face of the frame. It was made by Emile Remy, who was also responsible for the frames on two other pictures in the National Portrait Gallery, De Laszlo's Sir William Pulteney of 1917 and Sir John Lavery's Sir Lionel Cust of 1912 (NPG 6337).

    1 Reproduced with frame in a supplement to The Bookman, Christmas 1926. The frame is close in style to one in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, reproduced Claus Grimm, The Book of Picture Frames, New York, 1981, pl.145.

    2 Examples in one guise or the other are Lady Leconfield, 1913 (Petworth House), Lady Lowther and Madame La Tamurin, both of 1921 and recorded in old Laib photographs, and Sir Walter Townley (Foreign Office).

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1921back to top

Current affairs

Marie Stopes, campaigner for women's rights and pioneer of family planning, opens her first clinic in London, offering a free service to married women. While Stopes's forthright and open-minded attitudes have helped to change opinion about family planning and sex, her opinions on eugenics have been criticised and are now out-of-step with current thinking.

Art and science

British-born star of Hollywood Charlie Chaplin visits London where he is greeted by thousands. In 1921 Chaplain made his film, The Kid, which told the story of a tramp who finds an abandoned baby in an alley and decides to look after him. The portrayal of poverty in the film drew on Chaplain's own experiences of growing up in a working class family in London.


The Anglo-Irish Treaty partitions Ireland into the Irish Free State (later the Republic of Ireland) and Northern Ireland. The Irish Free State was granted independence, while six of the Northern counties of Ulster decided to remain part of Britain. The treaty came into effect in 1922.

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