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Sir Frederick Pollock, 3rd Bt; Harry Furniss

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- subject matching 'From behind'

Sir Frederick Pollock, 3rd Bt; Harry Furniss, by Harry Furniss, 1880s-1900s -NPG 3599 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Sir Frederick Pollock, 3rd Bt; Harry Furniss

by Harry Furniss
Pen and ink, 1880s-1900s
8 1/2 in. x 6 1/4 in. (216 mm x 159 mm)
NPG 3599

Inscriptionback to top

Signed lower right: ‘Hy.F.’;
inscr. in another hand top right: ‘Sir.F.Pollock’.
On reverse NPG 1948 date stamp;
and inscr. in pencil: ‘272’ top left; ‘ --21/2 –’ centre.

This portraitback to top

Sir Frederick Pollock was a leading jurist and legal theoretician who published numerous books on the historical principles of English law, was professor of jurisprudence at Oxford 1883–1903 and chief editor of the Law Reports 1895–1935. He also helped draft parliamentary bills and served on ‘blue book’ commissions of inquiry, including that on the condition of labour 1891–4, which was perhaps the occasion of his meeting with Furniss, as recorded here. Furniss was Punch’s parliamentary illustrator during this period, although the caricature may have been drawn at a later date.

Pollock was notable for his ‘immense dignity’ and ‘formidable appearance’,[1] although he also enjoyed humour, with Punch as recommended reading.[2] He is represented here as an abstracted intellectual, fumbling with too many learned volumes, while the caricaturist sketches himself withholding his own work, or the paper in which it appears.

For other portraits of Pollock see NPG 3835 and NPG D20934, which also feature his walrus moustache and round spectacles but endow him with greater gravity than in Furniss’s lively, intentionally irreverent drawing.

Writing of Furniss’s work in caricature, the Art Journal commented that ‘Nobody has wielded the pen, not to say the brush, of criticism more effectively than he, some would say more ferociously. But there is, in truth, little ferocity in the merry band that pipes to the tunes so genially “called” by [the editor of Punch] ….’[3]

See NPG collection 3337–3535, 3554–3620

Dr Jan Marsh

Footnotesback to top

1) R.A. Cosgrove, ‘Pollock, Sir Frederick Pollock, third baronet (1845–1937)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; online ed. 2008.
2) See F. Pollock, For my Grandson: Remembrances of an Ancient Victorian, London, 1933,
3) ‘Aliquis’ 1892, p.196.

Physical descriptionback to top

Nearly whole-length, standing, back view, profile perdu to left, holding sheet of paper behind him, facing companion carrying unstable pile of books.

Provenanceback to top

The artist; his sons, from whom purchased (through Theodore Cluse), April 1947

View all known portraits for Harry Furniss