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James Martineau

James Martineau, by George Frederic Watts, 1873, based on a work of 1873 -NPG 1251 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

James Martineau

replica by George Frederic Watts
1873, based on a work of 1873
25 7/8 in. x 21 in. (657 mm x 533 mm)
NPG 1251

This portraitback to top

This is a replica of the portrait of Martineau by Watts of 1873 at Manchester College, Oxford, exhibited RA, 1874 (51), Winter Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, 1882 (149) and Royal Jubilee Exhibition, Manchester, 1887, 'Fine Art Section' (503), reproduced The Life and Letters of James Martineau, edited J. Drummond and C. B. Upton (1902), I, frontispiece, etched by P. Rajon, published Agnew, 1876 (example in NPG). The original portrait was subscribed for by Martineau's old pupils, thirty-seven of whom dined together on 24 June 1874, and formally presented it to Manchester New College. Watts expressed pleasure in painting 'so good and distinguished a man as Mr Martineau', but would only paint the head, as he considered modern costume 'not only so uninteresting, but so ignoble' (Drummond and Upton, II, 20). Several of Martineau's friends were disappointed with the portrait, feeling that Watts, who was painting Martineau at a time of ill-health, had misinterpreted his subject: 'We see before us the philosopher and the mystic ... but not the man of action and the prophet' (Drummond and Upton, II, 21). Watts frequently painted replicas of his portraits of famous people, with the deliberate intention of presenting them eventually to the nation.

Referenceback to top

Watts
'Catalogue of Works by G. F. Watts', compiled by Mrs M. S. Watts, (Ms, Watts Gallery, Compton), II, 105.

Physical descriptionback to top

Dark complexion, bluish eyes, brown hair with grey streaks. Dressed in a black neck-tie, white shirt, black coat and waistcoat. Background colour dark reddish-brown.

Provenanceback to top

The artist, presented by him, 1900.

Exhibitionsback to top

Toynbee Hall, 1888; Loan Collection of Pictures, Corporation of London Art Gallery, 1892 (17); Rugby, 1894; Chester, 1895; Southwark, 1895.


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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