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Samuel Cousins

3 of 18 portraits by Frank Holl

Samuel Cousins, by Frank Holl, 1879 -NPG 1751 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Samuel Cousins

by Frank Holl
6 3/8 in. x 5 1/2 in. (162 mm x 140 mm)
NPG 1751

This portraitback to top

This is a study for the oil portrait of Cousins by Holl in the Tate Gallery, exhibited RA, 1879 (189), and Annual Exhibition, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, 1907 (32). It was etched by C. Waltner, published Agnew, 188 (example in NPG). In the autumn of 1878, Holl's father suggested that his son should paint Cousins, an old friend, in order to establish his ability in portraiture. Holl reluctantly agreed, and managed to persuade Cousins to sit. The finished portrait was widely praised, only Cousins remarking with amusement and some disgust: 'What will all the young ladies say when they see it?’ [1] In a letter of 28 January 1935 (NPG archives), however, Cousins' nephew, J. H. Cousins, wrote:

'Will you allow me to say, with all respect to Frank Holl, that that drawing was a complete failure to represent the facial appearance of Samuel Cousins, and quite unrecognizable as a portrait of him, and in this opinion all his family agreed. Subsequently however Edwin Long R.A. painted an excellent portrait of Samuel Cousins, which was appreciated by us all, and in his 84th year he made an excellent engraving from this portrait (without spectacles) and distributed Proof Prints amongst his relatives.'
Long's portrait was painted in 1883. A copy of Holl's portrait was offered to the NPG in 1939 by W. T. Flowers.

Footnotesback to top

1) A. M. Reynolds, The Life and Work of Frank Holl (1912), p 158. See also pp 157-8 and 159-60.

Provenanceback to top

E. E. Leggatt, presented by him, 1915.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Ormond, Early Victorian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1973, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

View all known portraits for Samuel Cousins

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