4 of 84 portraits of Samuel Wilberforce
- Extended catalogue entry
Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue
by George Richmond
17 1/2 in. x 13 1/8 in. (445 mm x 333 mm)
This portraitback to top
This is a study for the three-quarter length portrait of Wilberforce owned by the Bishop of Oxford, listed in Richmond's 'Account Book' (photostat of original MS, NPG archives), p 78, as begun in 1864, and p 79, as finished in 1865 . The latter was exhibited RA, 1865 (61), engraved by S. Bellin (example in NPG), and recorded and sketched in the Bishop of Oxford's Palace at Cuddesdon in 1866 by G. Scharf, Sir George Scharf's Sketch Books (NPG archives), LXXVI, 25. Other portraits of Wilberforce by Richmond are as follows:
1 1834. Water-colour or drawing. Listed in Richmond's 'Account Book', p 11, as engraved. Presumably the early looking portrait engraved by R. Woodman, published Hayward and Moore (example in NPG).
2 1843. Drawing. Collection of Mrs Arnold Reckitt. Listed in Richmond's 'Account Book', under 1843. Exhibited East Yorkshire Portraits, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, 1959 (47). Engraved by H. Robinson, published J. Hogarth, 1845 (example in NPG).
3 c.1851. Drawing. Exhibited VE, 1892 (379), lent by the Rev Canon Wilberforce. Engraved by W. Holl (example in NPG), for the 'Grillions Club' series, engraving exhibited RA, 1860 (924). In the exhibition catalogue the drawing was said to be signed and dated 1850 or 1851. Wilberforce did not become a member of Grillions Club until 1851.
4 1868. Painting. Royal Academy, diploma work. Listed in Richmond's 'Account Book', p 82, under 1868. Exhibited RA, 1868 (59). Two other versions of this type, identical to the Royal Academy portrait except that they show the sitter's hand resting on an open and not a closed book, are in the Westminster Abbey Deanery, and formerly in the collection of Miss Susan and Dr Octavia Wilberforce. The former was presented to the Deanery by the sitter's son, Archdeacon Wilberforce. The latter was sold at Christie's, 14 July 1939 (lot 21), presumably the portrait exhibited VE, 1892 (197), lent by Reginald Wilberforce. One of the two is listed in Richmond's 'Account Book', p 82, under 1868, and was engraved by J. R. Jackson, published J. Mitchell, 1871 (example in NPG), engraving exhibited RA, 1872 (1299).
Footnotesback to top
1) An anecdote about Wilberforce's impatience at Richmond's delay in finishing the portrait is related in A. M. W. Stirling, The Richmond Papers (1926), pp 51-2. See also R. G. Wilberforce, Life of the Right Reverend Samuel Wilberforce, D. D. (1880-2), III, 76.
Physical descriptionback to top
Fresh complexion, dark eyes, brown hair. Dressed in white, red and black clerical and academic robes, holding a black mortar-board, with a blue ribbon at his neck supporting an episcopal medal(?). Holding the finial of a chair. Green curtain covers most of the background.
Provenanceback to top
Purchased from the artist's executors, 1896.
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.