Bertrand Russell

1 portrait matching 'bertrand russell roger fry'

© National Portrait Gallery, London

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Buy a print Buy a greetings card Make a donation Close

Bertrand Russell

by Roger Fry
oil on canvas, circa 1923
21 1/4 in. x 17 3/4 in. (540 mm x 451 mm)
Purchased, 1970
Primary Collection
NPG 4832

On display in Room 25 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Roger Fry (1866-1934), Critic and painter. Artist or producer of 5 portraits, Sitter in 18 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Subdued in palette and the handling of paint, Fry's portrait is notable for its clarity, directness and understatement. These qualities seem appropriate for a likeness of a philosopher who admired the 'supreme beauty' of mathematics - 'cold and austere'.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 188
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 188 Read entry

    It is appropriate that Bertrand Russell should be represented by a portrait by Roger Fry. Both were dry, rather cerebral intellectuals, but both had more than a touch of worldliness, alongside their high moral principles, their pacifism and socialism. Both were members of the 'Apostles', a secret academic society, when they were undergraduates at Cambridge. Both were to be lovers of the well-known socialiate Ottoline Morrell, who had such an appetite for the company of intellectuals at Garsington before the First World War. Moreover, Fry was a great admirer of Russell's work, writing in 1920 that 'He is one of the men of genius of our time.' So the portrait forms a nice record of the milieu that surrounded the Bloomsbury group: high-minded and preoccupied with the world of ideas.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 539
  • Spalding, Frances, The Bloomsbury Group, 2013, p. 112
  • Spalding, Frances, Insights: The Bloomsbury Group, 2005, p. 100

Events of 1923back to top

Current affairs

Stanley Baldwin begins the first of three terms of government as Conservative Prime Minister following the resignation of Andrew Bonar Law.

Art and science

Bolton Wanderers beat West Ham United in the first FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. The Cup Final was held at Wembley every year except during the war until 2000.


Hitler attempts to take power in Germany with the Munich Beer Hall Putsch. On the 8th November Hitler and the SA stormed a meeting of the ruling 'triumvirs' forcing them to support a march on Berlin. The coup, however, failed and Hitler was arrested and sentences to five years in prison.

Comments back to top

We are currently unable to accept new comments, but any past comments are available to read below.

If you need information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service . Please note that we cannot provide valuations. You can buy a print or greeting card of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at around £6 for unframed prints, £16 for framed prints. If you wish to license an image, select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Use this image button, or contact our Rights and Images service. We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.