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Sir George Alexander (George Samson)

1 of 11 portraits matching these criteria:

- set matching 'The Garrick Gallery of Caricatures by Furniss'

Sir George Alexander (George Samson), by Harry Furniss, circa 1885-1923 -NPG 4095(1) - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Sir George Alexander (George Samson)

by Harry Furniss
Pen and ink with faint traces of pencil on card, circa 1885-1923
15 1/8 in. x 12 1/2 in. (384 mm x 318 mm)
NPG 4095(1)

Inscriptionback to top

On reverse sketch caricature of laughing male head in pencil, pen and ink, inscr. 'Lord Abinger'.
On card circular blindstamp: 'Winsor & Newton'.

This portraitback to top

Striking a self-regarding pose, with nipped-in waist, silver locks and flaring nostrils, this is Harry Furniss’s take on George Alexander, the ‘Beau Brummell of our stage’, [1] as depicted in this undated drawing. It was published in Furniss c.1913–16, plate 55; see NPG collection 4095(1–11).

The histrionic pose appears to show Alexander in an unidentified contemporary part. Yet for all his matinee idol looks he was in private ‘a modest man with no overweening sense of pride’; [2] and, among theatre managers, a hardworking professional, the string of hits at the St James’s Theatre a reflection of his careful administration. [3]

Several actor-managers were regular targets for Furniss – see Sir Henry Irving, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Sir Squire Bancroft – but not George Alexander, and NPG 4095(1) is the only traced caricature by Furniss. [4] The two men joined the Garrick Club about the same date, Furniss in 1885 and Alexander in 1886.

For other drawings and further information relating to Furniss’s career as an artist, see NPG collection 3337–3535, 3554–3620.

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) ILN, 23 Mar. 1918, p.346.
2) Duncan 1964, p.295.
3) Mason 1935, p.26.
4) There are no drawings of Alexander listed in the H. Furniss register of drawings, NPG Furniss MS116.

Physical descriptionback to top

Whole-length standing, to left, smiling, enlarged head and collar over neat body, arms akimbo.

Conservationback to top

Conserved, 1980.

Provenanceback to top

Blenheim Galleries, London, from whom purchased February 1959.

Reproductionsback to top

Furniss c.1913–16, pl.55.

View all known portraits for Sir George Alexander (George Samson)

View all known portraits for Harry Furniss


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