Joseph Southall; Anna Elizabeth Southall

1 portrait matching '7020'

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© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Joseph Southall; Anna Elizabeth Southall

by Joseph Edward Southall
egg tempera on linen, 1911
39 1/2 in. x 19 3/4 in. (1003 mm x 503 mm)
Purchased with help from the Art Fund and Sir Simon Robertson KT, 2016
Primary Collection
NPG 7020

On display in Room 19 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery

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Artistback to top

  • Joseph Edward Southall (1861-1944), Artist and craftsman. Artist or producer of 1 portrait, Sitter in 3 portraits.

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The example of early Italian art persuaded Southall to give up his early training as an architect and to devote himself to highly-crafted paintings which revived the use of egg tempera. Encouraged by Ruskin, Morris and Burne-Jones, he became a leading member of the Birmingham School in the 1890s and founded the Society of Painters in Tempera in 1901. His wife, Anna Elizabeth, was herself a significant craftswoman, assisting Southall in his work and writing on the art of gilding. Known as The Agate, this remarkable portrait shows the couple holding agate stones. The beach is possibly that at Southwold, Suffolk, a favourite haunt of the Southalls where agate is quite easily found.

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Current affairs

Asquith's Liberal government introduces the Parliament Act to curb the powers of the House of Lords following the clash between the Commons and Lords over the 1909 People's Budget. The Act removed the Lords' power to veto bills, reduced the length of Parliament from seven to five years, and provided for the payment of MPs.

Art and science

Ernest Rutherford discovers the structure of the atom. The New Zealand born physicist working in Manchester showed with his Nuclear Model that electrons orbited a nucleus composed of protons and neutrons. The discovery paved the way for nuclear physics.


The Polish Chemist, Marie Curie, becomes the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for her discovery in 1898 of the radioactive element, Radon.
The Mona Lisa is stolen from the Louvre. The masterpiece was missing for two years, during which time suspicion fell on avant-garde poet Guillaume Apollinaire and his friend Pablo Picasso, before Vincenzo Peruggia, an employee of the Louvre, was arrested in Florence.

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