The World of Rupert Potter: Photographs of Beatrix, Millais and friends
Past display archive
13 May - 16 November 2014
Room 28: case display
The father of the children’s book author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, Rupert Potter (1832–1914) was a lawyer and a keen amateur photographer. Large numbers of his photographs survive in several collections, with the earliest dating to the 1860s. Carefully posed portraits of friends, family and landscapes taken during the Potters’ lengthy summer holidays were favoured subjects and exemplify his technical skill and aesthetic ability.
Potter also enjoyed drawing and collected art. He was a close friend of the painter Sir John Everett Millais, contributing photographs of sitters and the artist’s unfinished paintings to assist his working process. Beatrix’s journals from the 1880s and 1890s vividly reveal the influence of this relationship in her exposure to the art world and the life of a working artist before becoming one herself. She later used photography to aid her work, learning with one of her father’s old cameras: ‘A most inconveniently heavy article which he refuses to use’. With their mutual interests in art and photography, father and daughter enjoyed a close relationship and Rupert became a significant influence in Beatrix’s development as an artist and writer.
Commemorating the centenary of Rupert Potter’s death, this display includes two recent acquisitions among a selection from the National Portrait Gallery’s archive of 198 of his photographs.
Rupert Potter; Beatrix Potter; (Walter) Bertram Potter
by Rupert Potter
Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt
by Rupert Potter
© National Portrait Gallery, London
- John Bright (NPG P862)
- Rupert Potter; Beatrix Potter; (Walter) Bertram Potter (NPG P1822)
- Beatrix Potter; Rupert Potter; Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley (NPG P1823)
- John Bright (NPG x4320)
- John Bright (NPG x4310)
- Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt; John Bright; Henry James, 1st Baron James of Hereford (NPG x4324)
- Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt (NPG x131239)
- Probably James Miller; Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt (NPG x131238)
- 'Nell Gwynne' (Effie Gray James (née Millais)) (NPG x131241)
- William Ewart Gladstone (NPG x5885)
- Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt (NPG x131236)
- Sir Geoffroy William Millais, 4th Bt (NPG x131250)