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Thomas Wright

3 of 92 portraits by George Frederic Watts

Thomas Wright, by George Frederic Watts, circa 1850-1851 -NPG 1016 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Thomas Wright

by George Frederic Watts
circa 1850-1851
24 in. x 20 in. (610 mm x 508 mm)
NPG 1016

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed on a label on the back in the artist's hand (referring to the RA exhibition): No 3. Thomas Wright/of Manchester/G. F. Watts/30 Charles Street/Berkeley Square

This portraitback to top

This drawing was used by Watts for the head of the 'Good Samaritan' in his second version of the picture of this title (Watts Gallery, Compton). The first version, which is similar in composition, but shows a different model, is in the City Art Gallery, Manchester, exhibited RA, 1850 (408), presented by the artist to Manchester in the same year as a token of his admiration for Wright. [1] Sometime after the presentation, Wright visited the artist's studio, 'bringing Mr Watts a thank-offering of six pocket-handkerchiefs. He also gave him the great pleasure of hearing that the presentation of that picture, having called attention to his [Wright's] work, had been already of great service to him. Seeing that the head of Wright was remarkable in its refined and spiritual beauty, he asked if it was possible for him to give a sitting of an hour or so; with the result that a drawing in black and red chalk - now in its place in the National Portrait Gallery - was made in the Charles Street studio, and there Wright is niched amongst men who have made their mark.' (M. S. Watts, I, 130-1).

Footnotesback to top

1) Both pictures of the 'Good Samaritan' are listed in Mrs Watts, 'Catalogue of Paintings by G. F. Watts' (MS, Watts Gallery), I, 65; the Watts Gallery picture is dated 1849-1904.

Referenceback to top

Watts 1912
[Mrs] M. S. Watts, George Frederic Watts (1912), I, 130-1.

Provenanceback to top

The artist, presented by him, 1895.

Exhibitionsback to top

RA, 1851 (1167); Winter Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, 1880 (390).


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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