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George Percy Jacomb-Hood

George Percy Jacomb-Hood, by George Percy Jacomb-Hood,  -NPG 6083 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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George Percy Jacomb-Hood

by George Percy Jacomb-Hood
Pastel on buff-coloured brushed cotton
20 in. x 14 in. (509 mm x 355 mm)
NPG 6083

Inscriptionback to top

Stencilled on stretcher: ‘LECHERTIER BARBE LTD. / 95 JERMYN ST / LONDON, SW’.
Two printed labels (removed, noted in NPG RP 6083) formerly on backboard:
(a) ‘CHAPMAN BROS. / Carvers, Gilders & Frame Makers / 251 Kings Road. / (Opposite Carlyle Square.) / LONDON. S.W. / N.B. ESTIMATES GIVEN FOR DECORATIVE GILDING.’
(b) ‘A311. /A.&N. AUX. C.S.L./No.43’ [figures by hand].

This portraitback to top

G.P. Jacomb-Hood’s iconography is fairly thin, which gives added value to his extant self-portrait, NPG 6083. The pastel is not signed or dated, and it is not referred to or reproduced in his autobiography, With Brush and Pencil (1925). Judging by the iconography, it shows him in his mid-forties: see the comparable, but probably slightly earlier platinum print by Frederick Hollyer (‘All known portraits, Photographs, c.1890’). The portrait was acquired framed. Evidence from trade labels on the back of stretcher and frame point to a possible framing date between 1898 and 1911.[1]

Sociable and urbane, Jacomb-Hood was a horse-riding companion of Sargent’s (his neighbour in Tite Street); a founder member of the Chelsea Arts Club; and a recorder of royal tours in India. In 1910 he married a daughter of baron de Hochepied Larpent. But he was always a thorough professional, appreciated for his punctuality at meeting illustration and copy deadlines, and was still producing work for Royal Academy exhibitions in his seventies. Jacomb-Hood was ‘bold and outspoken in his likes and dislikes’ and he ‘held sound views on the qualifications of a successful portrait painter’.[2] These traits are embodied in his trim appearance and the brisk handling of the life-sized head. For an extended discourse on the desirable qualities in an itinerant portrait painter, see Chapter 7 of the autobiography.

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) ‘Frame (probably original): Stained oak veneer on pine carcass, 8.5cm wide, flat reverse outward facing section, with gilt composition formalised leaf sight edge with 8.5cm repeat’: note from Jacob Simon, NPG. For information leading to the suggested framing dates, see the directories of British artists’ suppliers and picture framemakers on the NPG website.
2) Walker’s Monthly [Walker’s Galleries Ltd], no.75, Mar. 1934, p.4. ‘A very dependable and accurate artist for the story or the event, his work lacks fire’; Houfe 1996, p.179. For a comprehensive list of the publications he illustrated, see {http://www.jacomb.com/gpjac_hood.htm}.

Physical descriptionback to top

Head-and-shoulders to right, dark brown hair and moustache, wearing wing collar with black bow tie, black jacket.

Provenanceback to top

By descent in the artist’s family; given to the NPG by the sitter’s great-niece, Mrs Celia Ramsey, 1989.

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