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David Wilkie Wynfield

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- set matching 'Victorian artists by David Wilkie Wynfield'

David Wilkie Wynfield, by David Wilkie Wynfield, 1860s -NPG P87 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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David Wilkie Wynfield

by David Wilkie Wynfield
Albumen print, 1860s
8 3/8 in. x 6 3/8 in. (212 mm x 161 mm)

Inscriptionback to top

On mount below print, photographic facsimile of sitter’s autograph.

This portraitback to top

This photograph was created during the 1860s, evidently as part of Wynfield’s series of artists portrayed in historical and contemporary costume, many of which were released for sale from March 1864 under the title The Studio: A Collection of Photographic Portraits of Living Artists, taken in the style of the Old Masters, by an Amateur.

For his self-portrait, Wynfield chose a costume and pose that evoke the persona of a Renaissance scholar. Characteristically, the image is divided into distinctive blocks of light and shade, with additional visual interest in the observed action of reading. There is no record of the exact date or circumstances of the sitting. However, the delayed release mechanism on the camera had not yet been developed; the sitter would certainly have required assistance when operating the camera. As the framing is carefully composed, a skilled collaborator must have worked with Wynfield to produce this image, as well as a second costume self-portrait (see ‘All known portraits, Photographs, 1860s’) in which Wynfield posed bareheaded, profile to right, wearing a dark-coloured top with full sleeves gathered at the shoulder. On other occasions, including a summer visit to Hever Castle in Kent, Wynfield took a sequence of carefully posed group photographs of members of the St John’s Wood Clique in which he also appears (see ‘All known portraits, Photographs, c.1864’ and ‘1866’).

According to Henry Stacy Marks, Wynfield was ‘a very good and painter-like photographer. His series of heads of artists, in characteristic hoods, caps and bonnets, were quite new at that time in art.’ [1]

For a duplicate print, see NPG P97. Additional prints are in the Royal Photographic Society, Bath (2809P), Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (1978P417), and Royal Academy of Art, London (03/6184 and 03/5582).

See NPG collection P70–P100

Magdalene Keaney

Footnotesback to top

1) Marks 1894, vol.1, p.165.

Physical descriptionback to top

Head-and-shoulders, full-face, reading, wearing historical costume.

Provenanceback to top

Sir Edmund Gosse, from whose heirs purchased 1929.

Exhibitionsback to top

Victorian Worthies, Alexander Gallery, London, 1976 (1): it is not clear which of two known versions was exhibited.

Reproductionsback to top

Hacking 2000, pl.3.

View all known portraits for David Wilkie Wynfield