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Sir Alfred Gilbert

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Sir Alfred Gilbert

by Bernard Partridge
Black chalk and watercolour on cream wove paper, published in Punch 8 May 1929
15 in. x 11 in. (381 mm x 279 mm)
NPG 4076

Inscriptionback to top

Signed in ink lower right: ‘Bernard Partridge.’;
inscr. in faint pencil bottom left: ‘Punch: 8 May 1929’;
and bottom right: ‘Sir Alfred Gilbert’.

This portraitback to top

Gilbert returned to settle in England in August 1926, after twenty-three years of travel and unhappy exile on the Continent. His friend and patron Queen Alexandra had died in 1925 and, controversially – Gilbert was now in his seventies and had a poor record for delivering work – he had been awarded the commission to design a monument to her memory (1926–32, Marlborough Gate, London). At the same time he set about finishing the remaining figures for the tomb of the Duke of Clarence (1892–1928, Albert Memorial Chapel, Windsor) and undertook new work including goldsmith designs.

In 1929 Isabel McAllister’s biography of Gilbert was published.[1] The artist was now sufficiently back in the news to feature as the Punch ‘Personality of the Week’ on 8 May 1929, in this full-page drawing by (John) Bernard Partridge. The tag below the published drawing (‘This is the man that made the wingéd Love [...] Come, Eros, come back soon to Piccadilly / and make the art of ugliness look silly!’) referred to the removal of the figure of Eros from the Shaftesbury Memorial while the Underground station was being built.[2] In the same year a replica of the memorial was erected in Liverpool.

Partridge worked for Punch from 1891 until his death; he was appointed principal cartoonist in 1910. In this portrait chargé he gives Gilbert a pugnacious expression, in contrast to other portraits of him at the time.

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) McAllister 1929. Gilbert advised on the design of the layout.
2) ‘Mr Punch’s Personalities. -XCIV.’, Punch, 8 May 1929, p.529.

Physical descriptionback to top

Three-quarter-length, standing, turned to right, wearing a checked jacket and matching waistcoat, cigarette in left hand.

Provenanceback to top

Given by Mr D. Pepys Whiteley, 1958, and accepted for the Reference Collection.

Reproductionsback to top

‘Mr Punch’s Personalities. -XCIV’, Punch, 8 May 1929, p.529 (full-page halftone).

View all known portraits for Sir Alfred Gilbert