Henry Hart Milman
18 of 92 portraits by George Frederic Watts
- Extended catalogue entry
Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue
Henry Hart Milman
by George Frederic Watts
25 1/2 in. x 20 1/2 in. (648 mm x 521 mm)
This portraitback to top
In a letter of 20 June 1863 (Kensington Central Library archives, kindly communicated by Miss R. J. Ensing), Watts wrote to Mrs Milman:
'I perceive that my picture does not please you or the Dean and I despair now of making it do so, regretting for the Dean's sake the trouble he has had. I shall be most happy to keep the picture which I esteem as one of my very best for my own collection, under these circumstances if at all inconvenient to the Dean to come tomorrow I think I can finish without another sitting which however I shall be very glad to have.'
The Milmans evidently overcame their objections, since they acquired the portrait. Another version, almost certainly a replica, is in the Royal Academy, presented by the artist, 1876. In a letter of 23 July 1902 (NPG archives), the sitter's son, the Rev William Milman, wrote:
'I can throw no light upon the genesis of the Watts Replica of my father's portrait ... But when we turn from the unknown to the known I can bear most emphatic testimony to the fact that the Portrait which you received on Monday is 'the Portrait' for which Dean Milman sat exclusively to Mr Watts - I went with my father on two or three occasions when he was sitting to Mr Watts - and that it is the portrait which was sent to the Dean as soon as finished.'
Watts frequently executed replicas of the portraits of his more famous sitters. The NPG portrait was engraved for Milman's History of Latin Christianity (4th edition, 1883), I, frontispiece.
Referenceback to top
'Catalogue of Works by G. F. Watts', compiled by Mrs M. S. Watts (MS, Watts Gallery, Compton), II, 109.
Physical descriptionback to top
Brown eyes, grey hair and whiskers. Dressed in a white collar, blue undergarment and black coat. Background colour very dark brown.
Provenanceback to top
The sitter, presented by his three sons, the Rev William, Sir Archibald, and Arthur, 1902.
Exhibitionsback to top
Royal Jubilee Exhibition, Manchester, 1887, 'Fine Art Section' (547).
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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