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John Newman

4 of 37 portraits of John Newman

John Newman, by Emmeline Deane, 1889 -NPG 1022 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

John Newman

by Emmeline Deane
1889
44 in. x 35 1/4 in. (1118 mm x 895 mm)
NPG 1022

Inscriptionback to top

Signed and dated (bottom left): Emmeline Deane/1889/Edgbaston

This portraitback to top

Miss Deane's two memoranda contain her reminiscences of Newman, and information about her four portraits of him (that in the NPG is no.4):
1 Charcoal drawing of 1884 (English College, Rome). The artist's mother, a cousin of Newman, arranged the sittings: 'His face struck me as most impressive - the moulding so decided and the nose so dominant a feature ... He sat well, his face full of animation and power.' The portrait was in the Paris Salon of 1886, and the International Fine Arts Exhibition, Rome, 1911, 'British Historical Section', room 1 (36); it is reproduced W. Ward, The Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman (1912), II, frontispiece.
2 Charcoal drawing of 1887 (collection of the artist, 1934, photograph in NPG files). Miss Deane asked Newman to sit for an oil, but he replied:

'It would be a great pleasure and favour to me to be painted by you. But my time is not my own ... St Bede and St Anselm ... were ... each of them finishing a great work, and they had to run a race with time ... What chance have I of doing my small work, however much I try. And you lightly ask me, my dear child, to give up the long days, which are in fact the only days I have' (copy of a letter, NPG archives).
He agreed, however, to sit for a second charcoal sketch, 'but it wasn't a characteristic study of his expression as he was smiling the whole time as my mother talked to him, and the facial muscles were stiff'.
3 Oil portrait, 1887-9 (The Oratory, Birmingham, photograph of it in its first stages, NPG files). In the summer of 1887, Father William Neville managed to persuade Newman to sit to Miss Deane for an oil. The portrait started well (Newman remarked, 'she has painted what I feel'), but the stuffy atmosphere of the room made Newman sleepy and brilliant by turns, and he found it almost impossible to hold the same position for any length of time. Miss Deane subsequently in her studio painted out everything except the face, and repainted the costume and background; she worked on the portrait again in 1889 together with no.4. It belonged to Newman, and then to Father Neville, who returned it to the artist. It was in the Rome Exhibition of 1911, room 1 (20).
4 Oil portrait, 1889 (now in the NPG). Dissatisfied with her first oil portrait (no.3), Miss Deane, late in 1888 or early in 1889 (her two memoranda are contradictory), took a new canvas, drew the figure in, and prepared the ground: 'I settled to paint him in black cassock and rose-coloured cappa magna this time.' In March 1889 she took her two oils to Birmingham, and on 4 April had a sitting from Newman; afterwards, however, 'the picture seemed to hang fire, and fogs came, and then an east wind set in.' On 8 April there was a second sitting: 'The Cardinal walked downstairs and sat really well for half an hour and I was able to get some good work done.' On 10 April Newman came again 'looking very weak and tired', and again on 17 April, 'a good sitting'. In between sittings, Miss Deane worked on the costume from a lay figure. She returned to Birmingham in June, and had three final sittings (29 June, 1 and 4 July). On 3 February 1890 Miss Deane repainted the background of the picture in her studio, as it was cold and chalky, and soon afterwards submitted it to the Royal Academy, where it just failed to find a place. Newman paid her a hundred guineas for the painting. A pencil study is reproduced G. H. Harper, Cardinal Newman and William Froude: a Correspondence (Baltimore, 1933), frontispiece. Miss Deane executed a miniature copy for Father Neville, which was subsequently given back to her.

Referenceback to top

Two MS memoranda prepared by the artist (NPG archives).

Physical descriptionback to top

Pale complexion, pale grey(?) eyes, grey hair. Dressed in the black and crimson robes of a cardinal, with a crimson skull cap, silver cross hanging from a heavy silver chain, malacca cane with silver handle and crimson tassels, silver ring with a dark stone. Seated in a wooden armchair, only the right arm of which is visible. Very dark background. Cardinal's arms top right.

Provenanceback to top

Purchased by the sitter for his doctor, George Vernon Blunt, and presented by him, 1896.

Exhibitionsback to top

Buck and Reid's Gallery, Bond Street, 1890.


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.

View all known portraits for John Henry Newman