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Robert Brudenell Carter

Robert Brudenell Carter, by Harold Wright ('Stuff'), published in Vanity Fair 8 April 1892 -NPG 3298 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Robert Brudenell Carter

by Harold Wright ('Stuff')
Watercolour with bodycolour and traces of pencil on white paper prepared with grey wash, published in Vanity Fair 8 April 1892
14 1/4 in. x 8 3/4 in. (362 mm x 222 mm)
NPG 3298

Inscriptionback to top

Signed in watercolour, at lower right: ‘STUFF’;
inscr. in pencil, lower left: ‘393’.

This portraitback to top

This caricature of Robert Brudenell Carter is the only medical subject drawn for Vanity Fair by Harold Wright (‘Stuff’), lawyer and cartoonist. [1] He drew it in 1892, while a relatively recent recruit to the magazine’s pool of artists: his 23 caricatures for Vanity Fair were published between 1891 and 1900. Carter’s finely delineated head and somewhat puppet-like physique are characteristic of Wright’s figure drawing, as can be seen in his other works in the Collection. [2]

Wright signed ‘Stuff’ (or ‘Stuff Gownsman’ or ‘Stuff G.’), and in the literature these pseudonyms are often mistakenly linked to another artist, the illustrator Henry Charles Seppings Wright (1850–1937). [3]

NPG 3298 was the basis of the chromolithograph by Vincent Brooks, Day & Son which appeared in Vanity Fair on 9 April 1892, an illustration to ‘Men of the Day no. DXXXVI. Mr. Robert Brudenell Carter F.R.C.S.’, captioned ‘“A Literary Oculist”’. [4] Carter’s iconography being small, the drawing is a useful reference to his appearance in later life.

The drawing was sold at Sotheby’s, Wilkinson & Hodge on 28 October 1912 (81), when it was bought for £1 5s. by Maggs Bros. In 1934 it was part of a collection of Vanity Fair drawings sold by the same dealer to the Gallery, at the ‘special price’ of £180 for 114 items. [5]

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) For biographical details on Harold Wright see The Times, 30 Dec. 1908, p.9 (obits); and Who Was Who 1920, p.577. See also the entry on Arthur Wrottesley, 3rd Baron Wrottesley by Wright, NPG 2972.
2) See NPG 1774a, NPG 2972, NPG 2995, NPG 3297, NPG 3299 and NPG 4605; see also Wright’s drawing of the lawyer and politician James Bryce, NPG 6749 (not published in Vanity Fair). For a reference to NPG 3298, see Ormond 1976, p.7 (not ill.).
3) See for example Harris & Ormond 1976, p.30; Matthews & Mellini 1982, p.213; Collens 1990, p.117; and Houfe 1996, p. 357. See also Blackett-Ord 2012.
4) For references to the print see Burgess 1973, p.65, no.548 (here attributed to Spy); and Matthews & Mellini 1982, p.234. For a reproduction of the print, see Sykes 1995, p.31.
5) Maggs was paid by the Gallery on 20 March 1934; for more information see NPG RP 2698–2746.

Physical descriptionback to top

Whole-length, profile to left, standing, reading a paper through two pairs of spectacles; wearing black suit with cutaway jacket and black bow tie.

Conservationback to top

Conserved, 1986.

Provenanceback to top

Sotheby’s Wilkinson & Hodge, 28 October 1912 (81), bought by Maggs Bros; purchased from Maggs Bros, 24 March 1934.

Reproductionsback to top

Copies of the print after NPG 3298
Chromolithograph by Vincent Brooks, Day & Son, Vanity Fair, 9 Apr. 1892; copies colls NPG D44589; RCP, 4561; and Wellcome L., London, no.1657i.

View all known portraits for Robert Brudenell Carter


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