by George Charles Beresford
platinum print, July 1902
6 in. x 4 1/4 in. (152 mm x 108 mm)
Sitterback to top
- Virginia Woolf (née Stephen) (1882-1941), Novelist and critic; sister of Vanessa Bell. Sitter in 63 portraits.
Artistback to top
- George Charles Beresford (1864-1938), Photographer. Artist associated with 387 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This photograph was taken in July 1902, when twenty-year-old Virginia Woolf (Virginia Stephen as she was then) was just embarking on her career as a writer and when the photographer George Charles Beresford had recently set up a commercial studio in Yeoman's Row, off the Brompton Road. Since her father, Sir Leslie Stephen and her sister, Vanessa, were photographed at the same time, one may presume that the idea was Sir Leslie's. Apparently six photographs were taken of Sir Leslie, fourteen of Virginia and an unspecified number of Vanessa. This image was printed with platinum salts, a technique that produces a rich range of nuanced tones. The result, so far as Virginia was concerned, was remarkable, showing her looking pale and contemplative and emphasizing her beautiful liquid eyes and strong aquiline features.
Linked publicationsback to top
- National Portrait Gallery: 100 Portraits, p. 99
- 100 Photographs, 2018, p. 42
- Faces of the Century, 1999 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 22 October 1999 to 30 January 2000), p. 108
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 93
- Cooper, John, Great Britons: The Great Debate, 2002, p. 21
- Funnell, Peter (introduction); Marsh, Jan, A Guide to Victorian and Edwardian Portraits, 2011, p. 44
- Gibson, Robin; Clerk, Honor, 20th Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery Collection, 1993, p. 14
- John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 93
- Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 147
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 171
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 171
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 677
- Spalding, Frances, Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision, 2014 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 10 July 2014 - 26 October 2014), p. 11
- Spalding, Frances, The Bloomsbury Group, 2013, p. 32
- Spalding, Frances, Insights: The Bloomsbury Group, 2005, p. 32
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 228
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
Events of 1902back to top
Current affairsPrime Minister Lord Salisbury resigns and is replaced by his nephew, Balfour, who this year introduces the Education Act, which controversially hands control of secondary education from school boards to Local Education Authorities.
Arthur Griffith, leader of the Society of Gaels, introduces a policy of 'Sinn Fein' at a Society meeting in Dublin, which includes passive resistance to the British and the establishment of an Irish ruling council.
Art and scienceJoseph Conrad publishes his short story The Heart of Darkness, a powerful critique of European imperialism. Based on his experiences in Africa, the narrative follows Charles Marlow's journey into the Belgian Congo in search of the mysterious trader Kurtz.
In New York, Alfred Stieglitz founds the Photo-Secession movement, a group of US photographers influenced by the Pictoralist movement, seeking recognition of photography as art in its own terms.
InternationalThe first Aswan Dam is opened on the Nile, at the time the world's largest dam. The gravity dam, 1900m long and 54m high, was designed by Sir William Willcocks and built by engineers including Sir John Aird, whose firm John Aird & Company was the main contractor.
The Boer War ends after the Boers accept their loss of independence under the Treaty of Vereeniging, bringing the Boer republics under British control.
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On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
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