- Extended catalogue entry
after Henry Van der Weyde
Watercolour, body colour and gum arabic over albumen print laid down on card, circa 1878-1881
12 in. x 9 1/2 in. (305 mm x 241 mm)
Inscriptionback to top
Gilt oak frame with gilt tablet inscr.: ‘WILLIAM BURGES A.R.A. / 1827–1881 / Architect’.
Old backboard, two labels:
(a) ‘WILLIAM BURGES. ARA. / 1827–1881 / ARCHITECT’;
(b) ‘Rowley Frames / 140 Church Street / Kensington, W.’.
This portraitback to top
Henry Van der Weyde was a painter and photographer. As well as exhibiting at the Royal Academy from 1875 to 1900 he also ran a very successful photographic studio at 182 Regent Street. He was the first professional photographer to use pure electric light. This innovation involved a gas-driven Siemens dynamo and a four-foot parabolic reflector which produced the brilliance of ‘6,000 candles’; sittings were quick and efficient and not subject to daylight or weather conditions. The Van Der Weyde Electric Studio operated from 1878 until 1902.
Theodore Blake Wirgman made a sketch after the pose represented by NPG P552, in reverse, for a page of portraits of ‘New Associates of the Royal Academy’ in the Graphic in 1881. And when Burges died only a few weeks later, the Van der Weyde photographs were the only available images to illustrate the obituaries. The sobriety of the pose gives little idea – just a hint in the jewelled tiepin – of the extravagance and true eccentricity of Burges’s private life: at his tea parties ‘the meal [was] served in beaten gold, the cream poured out of a single onyx, and the tea strictured in its descent on account of real rubies in the pot’.
See also NPG x127701, a watercolour over a copy print of the Van der Weyde, P552 type.
Footnotesback to top
Physical descriptionback to top
Head-and-shoulders, bust facing front, head slightly to left, wearing spectacles.
Provenanceback to top
Given by Mr S.B. Heney, 1994; transferred from NPG Reference to Primary Collection, 1994.
Reproductionsback to top
See note 2 for reproductions.
View all known portraits for William Burges
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