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Sir Milsom Rees

6 of 72 portraits matching these criteria:

- set matching 'Drawings by Harry Furniss'

Sir Milsom Rees, by Harry Furniss, circa 1923 -NPG 6251(50) - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Sir Milsom Rees

by Harry Furniss
Pen and ink , circa 1923
15 1/4 in. x 12 1/2 in. (387 mm x 318 mm)
NPG 6251(50)

Inscriptionback to top

Signed lower left: ‘HyF’.

This portraitback to top

This vigorous caricature, emphasising Rees’s eyebrows and matching moustache and showing him perched on the arm of an easy chair, underlines his restless, energetic manner. In addition to his professional achievements, he was an excellent sportsman who became

a first-class golfer of international standing, and still later he took up big-game hunting with equal success. The account of his visits to Africa reveal [sic] in a striking manner his multifarious interests. His expert surgical craftsmanship would be in demand for the local celebrities and native chieftains; his wise counsel would be sought on the question of providing new hospitals, and at times he gave generous financial assistance for their construction. Furthermore, he acquired extensive business interests there, in the form of coffee estates in Tanganyika [now Tanzania] and salt mines in Nyaza [now Malawi], and these proved very successful ventures. [1]

It was one of 130 humorous likenesses of fellow-members of the Garrick Club in informal poses drawn by Harry Furniss for inclusion in Furniss [publ.c.1913–16]. was knighted in 1916, and by this date was in his mid-fifties.

Although mainly a club for men in theatrical professions, the Garrick also had many medical members; see also Furniss’s portraits of Sir George Anderson Critchett (NPG 6251(13)), Henry Pottinger Keatinge (NPG 6251(33)), Sir Dawson Williams (NPG 6251(67)) and Sir Harold Gillies (NPG D122). Rees himself had links to the theatre, being consultant laryngologist at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where the singers he attended included Adelina Patti, Nellie Melba and Kirsten Flagstad.

Photographs taken a decade later (see ‘All known portraits, Photographs, 1931’) show a more formal appearance, with neatly clipped moustache and less exuberant eyebrows – but with similar collar, tie and tie-pin.

This work came to the Gallery with 70 other drawings by Furniss, initially placed in the Reference Collection before being transferred to the Primary Collection in 1994.


See also NPG collection 3337–3535, 3554–3620 and NPG collection 4095(1-11).

Dr Jan Marsh

Footnotesback to top

1) Jones 2001.

Physical descriptionback to top

Whole-length, half-profile to left, luxuriant moustache, standing against arm of easy chair, wearing formal suit with wing collar, right arm resting on table, left hand to waist, legs crossed.

Provenanceback to top

Acquired with a large number of other drawings from the artist’s heirs, 1947–8.

Reproductionsback to top

Furniss [c.1913–16], pl.40.

View all known portraits for Harry Furniss

View all known portraits for Sir Milsom Rees