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John Newman

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John Newman

by Emmeline Deane
oil on canvas, 1889
44 in. x 35 1/4 in. (1118 mm x 895 mm)
Given by George Vernon Blunt, 1896
Primary Collection
NPG 1022

Sitterback to top

  • John Henry Newman (1801-1890), Cardinal, theologian and saint; canonised 2019. Sitter in 37 portraits.

Artistback to top

Linked publicationsback to top

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  • Foister, Susan, Cardinal Newman 1801-90, 1990 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 2 March - 20 May 1990), p. 77 Read entry

    Emmeline Deane's mother, Mrs Louisa Deane, was the daughter of Sealy Fourdrinier, the brother of Newman's mother Jemima, and Newman had known her from childhood. Emmeline Deane, a keen artist, persuaded her mother to ask Newman for a sitting in 1884; he replied doubtfully on 7 May, arguing, 'they say that no one ever succeeded in taking me, which makes it unkind to let anyone try'. (Henry Tristram, Newman and his Portraits, unpublished typescript (Birmingham Oratory)). A charcoal drawing and an autotype were the result, but in 1887 Emmeline Deane asked Newman to sit for an oil painting; once more, he was reulctant to spare the time, comparing himself to St Bede and St Anselm running a race with time: 'What chance have I of doing my small work, however much I try? And you lightly ask me, my dear child, to give up the long days, which are in fact the only days I have!'. (Letter of 3 March 1887, copy in National Portrait Gallery Archive).

    Six months later he sat for a second portrait, a charcoal sketch, followed by an oil painting, with sittings in September 1887 and March 1888. Newman found the sittings onerous, and the artist subsequently repainted all of the portrait except the face. She continued to work on it in 1889, when she painted the present portrait, in a different costume, with sittings from Newman in April, June and July. In 1890, she repainted the background, as she found it 'cold and chalky' and was paid 100 guineas by Newman. (Memorandum by E. Deane in National Portrait Gallery Archive; Richard Ormond, Early Victorian Portraits, 2 vols., London, 1971). A small pencil and watercolour study may be related to it.

  • Ormond, Richard, Early Victorian Portraits, 1973, p. 338
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 457

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1889back to top

Current affairs

The London Dock strike takes place resulting in a victory for the dock workers striking over pay and conditions.
Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, allowing legal intervention between children and parents for the first time.
Charles Booth, the English social scientist, publishes the first volume of Life and Labour of the People, an extensive survey into the living conditions of London's East End working class communities.

Art and science

George Gissing's The Nether World, a dark account of the lives of the urban poor in Clerkenwell, is published. Gissing absorbs the French naturalist style of writers such as Emile Zola to produce a harshly realistic observation of life in London at the end of the nineteenth century.


The Eiffel Tower is erected, designed by the French engineer and bridge builder Alexandre Gustave Eiffel for the Paris Exposition. At 300m high, it was the tallest manmade structure in the world at the time.
The Second International organisation is formed at a Congress in Paris by various socialist and labour parties, with the intention of working together for international socialism. It also declared 1 May International Labour Day.

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