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Stephen Lushington

Stephen Lushington, by William Holman Hunt, 1862 -NPG 1646 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Stephen Lushington

by William Holman Hunt
32 1/4 in. x 25 1/2 in. (819 mm x 648 mm)
NPG 1646

Inscriptionback to top

Signed and dated (bottom left): W H H [in monogram] 1862

This portraitback to top

Vernon Lushington was a friend of Holman Hunt and his Pre-Raphaelite colleagues. Hunt went down to the sitter's home at Ockham to paint the portrait, first executing a preliminary drawing (reproduced W. H. Hunt, II, 220): 'the difficulty was that in the mobility of his features it was almost impossible to find any phase between the two extremes that could give the interest of the charming old judge's character'. Hunt gives a vivid picture of Lushington's character and the progress of the portrait.

Referenceback to top

Hunt 1905
W. H. Hunt, Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1905), II, 219-22.

Physical descriptionback to top

Healthy complexion, blue eyes, grey hair and whiskers. Dressed in a dark blue neck-tie, white shirt, check waistcoat and trousers, and dark brown coat. Seated in an armchair with gilt back, and red arms. Reading a brown leather-bound book. Behind is a wooden sideboard, with books on it, and on the left a predominantly green plate and matching vase with violets and harebells. On the right is a green figured wall-paper, with the edge of a picture frame in the extreme right-hand corner.

Provenanceback to top

Commissioned by the sitter's son, Vernon Lushington, and presented by his daughter, Miss Susan Lushington, in accordance with his wishes, 1912.1

1 There are three letters from the donor about the portrait (NPG archives). Although she is not accurate in saying that it was the first portrait commission Hunt had received, Lushington obviously wanted to help his struggling friend. Hunt mentions work on the portrait in letters of 20 October 1862 and 25 August 1863 (Bodleian Library, Oxford, Ms Done. 66, ff. 70, 77-8).

Exhibitionsback to top

RA, 1863 (613); VE, 1892 (260).

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.

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