by Sherril Schell
gelatin silver print, April 1913
9 1/2 in. x 7 1/2 in. (240 mm x 190 mm)
This portraitback to top
This portrait was taken in Schell's Pimlico studio with natural light. The photographer recalled the poet's attire, noting that 'in spite of its carefully studied effect it gave him no touch of eccentricity'.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 189 Read entry
Cambridge-educated Rupert Brooke became celebrated for his striking good looks, charm and literary promise. His first volume of poetry appeared in 1911. He joined the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the First World War, later writing the five war sonnets that made him famous. The publication of these works coincided with his early death from septicemia, while on his way to join the campaign at Gallipoli. The most popular poet of the war, for some Brooke symbolised a pre-war golden age, destroyed by the conflict.
Brooke was photographed at the Pimlico home of American photographer Sherrill Schell (1877–1964), at the suggestion of the poet Francis Meynell. Several glass positives from this session, made by the firm of Emery Walker for use as photogravures, are held in the Gallery’s collection together with a second vintage print. Schell’s series of portraits from this sitting have become some of the most important images of the poet. A variant pose from this sitting was reproduced as the frontispiece to his book 1914 and other Poems (1915).
Placesback to top
- Place made: United Kingdom: England, London (photographer's studio, Pimlico, London)
Events of 1913back to top
Current affairsThe Suffragette, Emily Davison dies after stepping out in front of the King's horse as a protest at the Epsom Derby. In the same year the Liberal government passed the Cat and Mouse Act allowing them to release and re-arrest Suffragettes who went on hunger strike while in prison. Davison, herself, had been on hunger strike and was force-fed while detained at Holloway Prison.
Art and scienceStravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring comes to London following its premier at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. Audiences were shocked by Stravinsky's rhythmic and dissonant musical score and by the violent jerky dancing of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, which were intended to represent pagan ritual.
InternationalHenry Ford introduces the assembly line at the Ford Motor Company, rapidly increasing the rate at which the famous Model T could be manufactured, leading to massive growth in the motorcar industry and demonstrating to other industries the efficiency of mass production.
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