Saturday, 23 August 2014

George Richmond - part 1

1830s Self-Portrait oil on canvas 39.1 x 31.4 cm Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven CT

George Richmond (1809 - 1896) was an English painter. In his youth he was a member of "The Ancients," a group of followers of William Blake. Later in life he established a career as a portrait painter. He was the son of Thomas Richmond, a miniature-painter, and was the father of painter William Blake Richmond.

When Richmond was sixteen he met William Blake at the house of John Linnell in Highgate, London. The same night Richmond walked across the fields to Fountain Court with the poet and painter, who left a profound impression on Richmond, "... as though he had been walking with the prophet Isaiah." From this time until Blake's death, Richmond followed his guidance and inspiration in art. Traces of Blake's influence are seen in all of Richmond's early works, and especially in "Abel the Shepherd" (1825) and in "Christ and the Woman of Samaria" (1828).


1825 Abel the Shepherd tempera on oak 22.9 x 30.5 cm Tate, London

1828 Christ and the Woman of Samaria tempera and shell gold on mahogany 41 x 49.8 cm Tate, London


1827-28 Study for 'Christ and the Woman of Samaria' ink on paper 10.8 x 14 cm Tate, London

In 1827 he was present at Blake's death. Along with Samuel Palmer, Edward Calvert, Frederick Tatham and others he formed the Blake-influenced group knwon as "The Ancients." This influence faded in later life, when he produced relatively conventional portraits. In 1828 Richmond went to paris to study art and anatomy, the expenses of the journey being met by painting miniatures in England before leaving, and in France during his stay.

On his return to England he spent time at the White Lodge, Richmond Park, with Lord Sidmouth, who gave him valuable advice and whose portrait by him in watercolour is now in the National Portrait gallery, London. In 1830 he showed two poetical subjects at the Royal Academy, "On the Eve of Separation" and "The Witch." In 1931 he exhibited "The Pilgrim."


1830 On the Eve of Separation oil and watercolour on panel 49 x 36 cm The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford UK

At this time Richmond had formed a deep attachment to Julia Tatham, daughter of the architect Charles Heathcote Tatham. When her father revoked his consent to marry the couple ran away and married in Gretna Green, Scotland. This act proved a turning point in Richmond's career, and determined him to adopt portraiture as the readiest means of earning a living. He was befriended by Sir Robert Harry Inglis, a Conservative politician, and it was at his instance the the portrait of William Wilberforce, later engraved by Samuel Cousins, was painted by Richmond, a painting and engraving that achieved world-wide success.

1833 William Wilberforce watercolour 43.8 x 33 cm © National Portrait Gallery, London


1833 published 1834 William Wilberforce by Samuel Cousins, after George Richmond mezzotint 54.2 x 37.7 cm (sheet) © National Portrait Gallery, London

There followed immediately many successful watercolour portraits, such as those of Lord Teignmouth, the Frys, the Gurneys, the Buxtons, the Upchers, and the Thorntons, all traceable to Inglis's introductions. In 1837 Richmond was forced to take a rest for the sake of his health, which had broken down through overwork and the loss of three children within a short time. He went to Rome with his wife and surviving child Thomas, accompanied by Samuel Palmer and his bride Hannah Linnell, daughter of the landscape artist John Linnell.

During a stay in Italy, which lasted about two years, he made studies and copies of subjects in the Sistine Chapel, having scaffolding erected so as to reach the vault. He also visited Naples, Pompeii, and Tuscany. In southern Italy, Richmond painted three portraits that would establish his reputation as the pre-eminent portrait painter of his generation, including "An Old Calabrian Shepherd" :


1838 An Old Calabrian Shepherd. Private Collection

He returned to England in 1839 and resumed his practice as a portrait painter. A staunch churchman, he was intimate for years with all the leaders of the Tractarian movement. He received honorary degrees from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and honorary fellow of University College, London, and of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and a member of the Company of painters-Stainers of the City of London.

In 1846 Richmond was nominated by Gladstone to succeed Sir Augustus Wall Callcott on the Council of the Government Schools of Design, a post he held for three years. Ten years later he was appointed a member of the Royal Commission to determine the site of the National Gallery, when he was alone in voting for its removal from Trafalgar Square to South Kensington.

He died in 1896 at his home in Portman Square, London, where he had lived and worked for fifty-four years.

Biographical notes on George Richmond adapted from Wikipedia

This is part 1 of a 5 - part post on the works of George Richmond. Note: The majority of these images are the engravings 'after George Richmond' from the National Portrait Gallery, London.



after 1815 Vice Chancellor Ward by Francis Holl, after George Richmond engraving © National Portrait Gallery, London

1824-25 Elijah and the Angel ink and watercolour on paper 14 x 14 cm Tate, London

1825-35c Two Portrait Sketches of Samuel Palmer. The New Art Gallery Walsall, West Midlands UK

1825-50 Sir George Cornewall Lewis, 2nd Bt black and white chalk 58.4 x 43.2 cm © National Portrait Gallery, London

1825-50c Frank Bostock by Richard James Lane, after George Richmond lithograph 38.5 x 29.7 cm (sheet) © National Portrait Gallery, London

1825-50c William Ewart Gladstone by Frederick Christian Lewis Sr, after George Richmond stipple engraving 44.8 x 33.2 cm © National Portrait Gallery, London

1825c Fettered Nude Figure Reclining by a Rock (attributed to) ink and watercolour on paper 23.5 x 34.3 cm Tate, London

1826 The Creation of Light tempera, gold and silver on mahogany 48 x 41.7 cm Tate, London

1827 or 1829 A Figure Weeping Over a Grave pen and brown ink 8 x 12.7 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1827 The Fatal Bellman (The Robber) line engraving on paper 7 x 4.8 cm Art Institute of Chicago IL

1827 The Shepherd line engraving on paper 17.8 x 11.4 cm Tate, London

1828 A Portrait of Welby Sherman Asleep in a Chair graphite with touches of watercolour on vellum 16 x 13.20 cm The Cleveland Museum of Art OH

1828 Portrait of Samuel Palmer, February 5, 1828 graphite touched with black ink on textured, cream wove paper 20.6 x 14.9 cm Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven CT

1829 Portrait of Henry Walter graphite, gouache and watercolour on paper 17.8 x 12.4 cm Tate, London

1829 Samuel Palmer watercolour and body-colour on ivory 8.3 x 7 cm © National Portrait Gallery, London

1829-33 Hagar and Ishmael in the Wilderness graphite, pen and black ink, brush and black wash, with white gouache on paper 44.5 x 32.6 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1829c Samuel Palmer pencil, pen and ink 23.8 x 20.3 cm © National Portrait Gallery, London

1829c Two Male Figures pen and brown ink 14.9 x 16 cm The Cleveland Museum of Art OH

1830 George Richmond gouache on ivory 8.9 x 6.8 cm © National Portrait Gallery, London

1830 Portrait of a Man watercolour and gouache on ivory (miniature) 10.2 x 7.6 cm The Fitzwiliam Museum, Cambridge UK

1830 Portrait of Samuel Palmer, Head and Shoulders pen and brown ink on cream wove paper 18.1 x 11.4 cm Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven CT

1830 Samuel Plamer graphite on beige, textured, wove paper 35.2 x 25.7 cm Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven CT

1830-35c Portrait of a Woman graphite and watercolour heightened with white 27.8 x 21.6 cm The Cleveland Museum of Art OH

1830c "Jocund Day Stands Tip Toe on the Misty Mountain Tops" (Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet,” Act III, Scene V) graphite 42.4 x 27.7 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1830s Charles Girdlestone by Richard James Lane, after George Richmond lithograph 11.7 x 9.3 cm (sheet) © National Portrait Gallery, London

1830s Sir John Gurney by James Posselwhite, after George Richmond stipple engraving 68.7 x 45 cm (sheet) © National Portrait Gallery, London

1830s-50s Greville Howard by Frederick Christian Lewis Sr, after George Richmond stipple engraving 42.5 x 29.5 cm © National Portrait Gallery, London

1831 Henry Kater black and red wash 25.6 x 21.1 cm © National Portrait Gallery, London


1832 John Shore, 1st Baron Teignmouth watercolour 36.2 x 26.4 cm © National Portrait Gallery, London

1843 John Shore, 1st Baron Teignmouth by William Walker, published by John Hatchard, after George Richmond stipple and line engraving 23 x 13.3 cm (sheet) © National Portrait Gallery, London


1833 Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth watercolour 59.7 x 38.7 cm © National Portrait Gallery, London

1833 William Wilberforce, MP oil on canvas 140.9 x 110.5 cm Palace of Westminster, London
The above portrait of William Wilberforce clearly owes something to this study of 1828 by Sir Thomas Lawrence:

1828 William Wilberforce by Sir Thomas Lawrence 96.5 x 109.2 cm © National Portrait Gallery, London

1834 Rowland Hill, 1st Viscount Hill pencil and watercolour 20.3 x 15.9 cm © National Portrait Gallery, London

1836 Joseph John Gurney by Charles Edward Wagstaff, after George Richmond mezzotint 49 x 36.9 cm (sheet) © National Portrait Gallery, London

1836 published Sir James Emerson Tennent, 1st Bt by Richard Austin Artlett, after George Richmond stipple engraving © National Portrait Gallery, London

1836 Study of Thomas Knyvett Richmond Aged Three oil on board 33 x 31.8 cm

1837 Portrait of Two Children watercolour and gouache with touches of gum and gold, on yellow paper 58.1 x 42.2 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1837 Robert Grosvenor, 1st Baron Ebury by Frederick Christian Lewis Sr, after George Richmond stipple engraving 27.7 x 22.6 cm (plate) © National Portrait Gallery, London

1839 Dr Sweatman by Richard James Lane, after George Richmond lithograph 36.5 x 27.4 cm (sheet) © National Portrait Gallery, London

1839 Portrait of E.M. Ward, RA chalk and watercolour on paper 27.6 x 21.5 cm Tate, London

1839 The Archimedes Group from 'The School of Athens' oil on canvas 69 x 61 cm The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford UK

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