The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Augustus John: A Life in Portraits

Past display archive
26 July 2011 - 18 March 2012

Room 31 case display


Augustus John
by Charles F. Slade
September 1909
NPG x21187

This display marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Augustus John (1878-1961), one of the most celebrated British artists of the early twentieth century. He was regarded as an outstanding painter and a brilliant draughtsman. He was associated with the New English Art Club and the Camden Town Group but remained largely independent from artistic trends and movements. By the 1920s he was the leading portraitist of his day whose sitters included many of his most distinguished contemporaries such as George Bernard Shaw and T.E. Lawrence. Alongside these achievements his lifestyle epitomised that of the bohemian artist, a reputation bolstered by his fascination with Romany culture.

Selected from the Gallery’s photographs collection, this display spans Augustus John’s life from youth to old age. It includes photographs by Cecil Beaton, Norman Parkinson, Bill Brandt and Alvin Langdon Coburn. The display complements portraits by Augustus John currently on show of son Sir Caspar John, the society hostess Lady Ottoline Morrell and the poet Dylan Thomas.

© National Portrait Gallery, London



Gallery blog

Read our latest news and have your say.

Join the conversation

Tell us More about our silhouettes, photograph of Hubert Leslie, Silhouettist

Identify our Silhouettes

Join enthusiastic contributors who have already identified 155 sitters.

Help transcribe signatures

Tell us More about our Silvy sitters, photograph of Camille Silvy, photographer with boy

Tell us more about our Silvy sitters

Help us identify the sitters who visited Camille Silvy’s photographic studio during the 1860s.

Identify our sitters