The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 40 The National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

Previous - Next

40. THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY. STATlONS: Trafalgar Square, on the Bakerloo Tube; Leicester Square and Strand, on the Hampstead Tube; Charing Cross Terminus. OMNIBUSES to Trafalgar Square from all parts of London; Nos. 1, 24, 29, 39, and 48 pass the door. ADMISSION. The Portrait Gallery is open daily throughout the year, except on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Good Friday. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday it is open free from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. in summer (April-September inclusive), until 5 p.m. in March and October, and until 4 p.m. in winter (November-February, inclusive). On Sunday it is open free from 2.30 to 5.30 p.m. in March-October, from 2 to 4 p.m. in November-Feb. (inclusive). On Thursday and Friday (students' days) it is open, on payment of 6d., from 10 to 5 in summer (April-September), 10 to 4 in winter (October-March). The Reference Section is always closed from 12 to 2.15. Umbrellas, etc., must be left at the entrance (no charge). Catalogue (1925) 1/. - GUIDE-LECTURER at 2.15 and 3.15 except on Saturday and Sunday. The Natlonal Portrait Gallery occupies a building in an Italian style designed by Ewan Christian and situated in St. Martin's Place, immediately behind the National Gallery and opposite St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. It contains a most interesting and historically valuable collection of about 2000 portraits (paintings, sculptures, drawings) of men and women of significance in every walk of life. No portrait of any living person is admitted, except those of the royal family. The works vary in artistic merit, but there are examples of Dobson, Zucchero, Van Dyck, Kneller, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Romney, Raeburn, and other distinguished artists, while among the more modern portraits are a fine series by G. F. Watts, a number of pastels by G. Richmond, and many interesting items among the drawings. The arrangement of the larger portraits is roughly chronological, beginning on the second floor. The collection, founded by Act of Parliament in 1856, was housed successively at Westminster, South Kensington, and Bethnal Green, before the present gallery was opened in 1896. The building cost �96,000, of which Mr. W. H. Alexander contributed �80,000, while Government provided the site and �16,000. The Director of the Gallery is Mr. James D. Milner. Second Floor. Visitors who wish to follow the chronological order ascend direct to the second floor. From the middle of Room VIII, the long room at the head of the staircase, we turn to the left into ROOM I, which contains portraits down to the end of the Tudor period. To the left, Richard II. (1367-1400), last of the Plantagenets, Henry IV. (1367-1413), first king of the house of Lancaster, and, farther on, Richard III. (1452-1485), the last of the house of York; Geoffrey Chaucer (died 1400); Archbishop Warham (died 1552), attributed to Holbein; Cardinal Wolsey (died 1530); William Tyndale (died 1536), translator of the New Testament; Sir Thomas More (died 1535); Henry VIII. (14911547), copy of Hornebolt; Edward VI. (1537-53); Mary I. (1516-58); the martyrs Ridley and Latimer, and Archbishop Cranmer, burned at the stake in 1555-56. Sir Thomas Gresham, by Sir Anthony More; Sir Philip Sydney (1554-86); Sir Henry Lee (died 1610), Queen Elizabeth's champion, by More; Sir Walter Raleigh (died 1618); Sir Francis Drake (died 1596); several portraits of Queen Elizabeth (1533-1603). ROOM II. Stuart Period. Mary, Queen of Scots, as Queen of France, after Clouet, and (farther on) by Oudry; Countess of Pembroke (died 1621), by Gheeraedts; James I. (as a boy), by Zucchero. Ben Jonson (died 1637); Shakespeare (died 1016), the 'Chandos' portrait, attributed to Richard Burbage or John Taylor; Michael Drayton (died 1631), author of 'Polyol-bion.' ROOM III. Stuart Period. Charles I. (1600-49) dictating despatches; Duke of Buckingham (died 1628) and his family, by Honthorst; Earl of Portland (died 1635), by Cornelius Johnson. Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia (died 1662), two portraits; Francis Bacon (died 1626), Lord Chancellor, by Van Somer; James I. (1566-1625), by Van Somer. ROOM IV. Edward Cocker (died 1675; 'according to Cocker'). ROOM V. Sir John Suckling (died 1642). the poet, by Van Dyck; Robert Walker (died 1658 ?), the painter, by himself; William Harvey (died 1657); William Dobson (died 1646), the painter, by himself; Sir Anthony van Dyck (died 1641), by himself. Francis Quarles (died 1644), author of the 'Emblems,' by William Dobson; Queen Henrietta Maria (died 1669), Children of Charles I., Charles I. (1600-49), all after Van Dyck; Sir Kenelm Digby (died 1665), by Van Dyck; Group of Statesman, by Gheeraedts; Archbisop Laud (died 1645). ROOM VI. The Civil War. John Hampden (died 1643), Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), both by Walker; Thomas Hobbes (died 1679), the 'philosopher of Malmesbury,' by J. M. Wright; Izaak Walton (died 1683); Edmund Waller (died 1687); John Milton (died 1674), by Van der Plaas. ROOM VII. The Restoration. William Wycherley (died 1715); Richard Baxter (died 1691); John Dryden (died 1700), by Kneller; Nell Gwynn (died 1687), by Lely; Duke of Monmouth (died 1685), after Lely; Mary Davies, the actress, by Lely. Charles II., (1630-85); Colonel Blood (died 1680); La Belle Hamilton (died 1708), by Lely. John Locke (died 1704); John Bunyan (died 1688), by Sadler; Samuel Pepys (died 1703). ROOM VIII. To the left, on entering from the staircase: William III. (1650-1702), after Vellevens the Elder; William Congreve (died 1729), the dramatist, by Kneller; Sir Isaac, Newton (died 1727) Prince James (1688-1766), the Old Pretender; James II. (16331701), Sir Christopher Wren (died 1723), both by Kneller; Mary II.; William III.; Sir Godfrey Kneller (died 1723), by himself, Duke of Manmouth, painted after death, by Kneller; Judge Jeffreys (died 1689). In the centre is a curious portrait in perspective of Edward VI., by a Flemish artist, to be viewed through an opening in the screen on the right. ROOM IX. The 18th Century. Sir Richard Steele (died 1729), by Richardson; Queen Anne (1665-1714); Duke of Marlborough (died 1722). by Kneller; Duchess of Marlborough (died 1744), by Dahl; John Gay (died 1732), author of the 'Beggar's Opera'; Joseph Addison (died 1719); Jonathan Swift (died 1745). -George I. (1660-1727); George II. (1683-1760); Alexander Pope (died 1744); Earl of Chesterfield (died 1773), of the 'Letters' by Allan Ramsay. Busts of Colley Cibber (died 1757); Handel (died 1759), and William Hogarth (died 1764), by Roubiliac, and of Marlborough, by Rysbrack. ROOM X. George Whitefield (died 1770); John Wesley (died 1791); Prince Charles Edward (1720-88), the Young Pretender; Sir Hans Sloane (died 1753); Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, by Hogarth. James Thomson died 1748), author of the 'Seasons'; Laurence Sterne (died 1768); Thomas Gray (died 1771), author of the 'Elegy'; William Hogarth (died 1764), by himself; Horace Walpole (died 1797); Samuel Richardson (died 1761); Tobias Smollett (died 1771); Peg Woffington (died 1760), painted as she lay in bed paralysed. ROOM XI. Warren Hastings (died 1818), by Lawrence; William Pitt (died 1806), two portraits; Benjamin Franklin (died 1790); George Washington (died 1799); Edmund Burke (died 1797), by Reynolds; Charles James Fox (died 1806), Duke of Wellington (died 1852); Lord Nelson (died 1805), by Abbott; George III. (1738-1820), by Ramsay; Lord Clive (died 1774); General Wolfe (died 1759). Busts of David Garrick, Warren Hastings, Charles James Fox. ROOM XII. James Watt (died 1819); Sir Richard Arkwright (died 1792), by Wright of Derby; David Garrick (died 1779); Captain Cook (died 1779); Samuel Johnson (died 1784), by Reynolds; Robert Burns (died 1796), by Nasmyth; Oliver Goldsmith (died 1774); James Boswell (died 1795), by Reynolds; Lady Hamilton, by Romney; William Cowper (died 1800), by Romney; Mrs. Siddons (died 1831); Sir Joshua Reynolds (died 1792) by himself; Benjamin West (died 1820); George Morland (died 1804), by himself. ROOM XIII (the landing). Henrietta Maria (died 1669); Charles I., by Mytens; Philip II., by Sofonisba Anguissola. On the staircase descending to the first floor are Casts of royal effigies from tombs. First Floor. In ROOM XXIII (the landing) are royal portraits of the Georgian period. ROOMS XIV-XXIl (to the right) are occupied by the Reference Section of the gallery, containing portraits of less general interest and duplicate portraits. Only visitors much pressed for time should omit to at least walk through these rooms, which illustrate many interesting byways in the history of the nation. Above the steps to the right of the entrance: 'Old Parr' (died 1635), said to have attained the age of 152 years. From Room XXIII a short flight of steps descends to ROOM XXIV (the next landing), which is hung with large royal portraits. On the right are busts of Dr. Arnold of Rugby and of Herbert Spencer, and in the short passage leading thence to Room XXV are busts of Southey, Scott, and Tennyson. ROOM XXV. This and the following two rooms are dedicated to the great men and women of the 19th century. To the right: Samuel Taylor Coleridge (died 1834); Lord Byron (died 1824) in Albanian costume; Charles Lamb (died 1834); Shelley (died 1822); John Keats (died 1821), by his friend Joseph Severn; Thomas de Quincey (died 1859); William Blake (died 1827); Sir Walter Scott (died 1832), by Landseer and by Allan; Thomas Hood (died 1845); William Wordsworth (died 1850); Walter Savage Landor (died 1864); Ann and Jane Taylor (died 1866 and 1824), by their father; Emily Bronte (died 1848); George Borrow (died 1881). To the left, as we return: Lord Lytton (died 1873); William Makepeace Thackeray (died 1863): Anthony Trollops (died 1882); George Eliot (died 1880); Charles Dickens (died 1870), by Ary Scheffer; Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte, by their brother; Thomas Henry Huxley (died 1895); Thomas Carlyle (died 1881); Bust of Ruskin (died 1900) by Boehm; Charles Darwin (died 1882), by John Collier; Cardinal Newman (died 1890), by Emmeline Deane; R. L. Stevenson (died 1894), by Sir W. B. Richmond; portraits by Sargent of Coventry Patmore (died 1896), Henry James (died 1916), and Octavia Hill (died 1912). Here are Portraits by G. F. Watts of: Sir Henry Taylor, 'Owen Meredith,' A. C. Swinburne, William Morris, John Stuart Mill, Dean Milman, Cardinal Manning, Dr. Martineau, Thomas Carlyle, Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, and (farther on) Matthew Arnold, William Lecky, and George Meredith. In the central glass cases: Bronze head of W. E. Henley, by Rodin; bust and statuette of Thackeray; statuette of Lord Beaconsfield, by Lord Ronald Gower; life-mask of William Blake; etc. ROOM XXVI. Men of Science: George Stephenson, by Pickersgill; Michael Faraday, by T. Phillips; John Tyndall, by J. McL. Hamilton. ROOM XXVII. Artists. To the right: D. G. Rossetti, by Watts; John Constable, by Reinagle; Lord Leighton and G. F. Watts, both by Watts; Sir Henry Irving, by Bastien-Lepage; Sir Arthur Sullivan, by Millais; Sir Edward BurneJones, by his son. We return to Room XXIV and descend the staircase. Ground Floor. ROOM XXXI (landing). Lord Kitchener (died 1916), by Herkomer and by Horsfall; General Gordon (died 1885); Lord Wolseley (died 1913); 'Lord Roberts (died 1914), by Watts. Bust of Florence Nightingale (died 1910), by Steell. The three following rooms contain drawings, crayons, and miniatures. ROOM XXX. To the left are portraits of scholars and divines, including Drawings by G. Richmond: Cardinal Newman (died 1890); Dr. Pusey (died 1882); John Ruskin (died 1900); John Keble (died 1866). Adjoining, Dr. W. G. Grace (1848-1915), the famous cricketer. Near the window are portraits of distinguished women: 'Ouida' (Louise de la Ramee; died 1908); Mrs. Browning (A. 1861); Charlotte Bronte (died 1855); Mary Somerville (died 1872); Harriet Martineau (died 1876); Mrs. Gaskell (died 1865); 'George Eliot' (died 1880). Above, C. M. Doughty (1843-1926), author of 'Arabia Deserta.' The glass-cases contain Miniatures, medallions, and cameos, and openings in the wall (left) afford a view of two portrait groups: Some Sea Officers of the Great War, by Sir A. S. Cope, and Some General Officers of the Great War, by Sargent. ROOM XXVIII. Portraits of various periods: George Morland (died 1804), by himself; J. M. W. Turner (died 1851), by J. Philips; William Cowper (died 1800), by Romney; Joanna Southcott (died 1814). ROOM XXIX. Portraits of artists: Alfred Stevens (died 1876), by himself; J. McN. Whistler (died 1903), by Leslie Ward ('Spy'); Fred. Walker (died 1873), by himself; Phil May (died 1903), by Staples; Millais, by C. S. Keene; D. G. Rossetti, by himself; C. S. Keene (died 1891), by W. Corbould; two portraits of Joseph Conrad (died 1924); and a series of contemporary portraits by George Dance (died 1825). We descend to the entrance-hall, whence a short passage on the right (with busts of Canning, Pitt, and Lord Eldon) leads to ROOM XXXII, containing portraits of statesmen and judges. Also: William Wilberforce (died 1833), by Lawrence (unfinished); Duke of Wellington (died 1852), by Count d'Orsay. Busts of Statesmen. Disraeli (died 1881), by Millais; John Bright (died 1889), by Ouless; Henry Fawcett (died 1884) and Mrs. Fawcett, by F.Madox Brown; Joseph Chamberlain (died 1914), by F. Holl. Gladstone (died 1898), Lord Salisbury (died 1903), and other good portraits by G. F. Watts. ROOM XXXIV. Portraits and Busts of Military Commanders, In the glass-case, statuette of Sir John Macdonald (died 1891); bust of Henry Grattan (died 1820). From the other side of the entrance-hall a short staircase descends to the Basement. In ROOM XXXV are large collective portrait-groups: House of Commons in 1793, by Karl Hickel; House of Lords in 1820, dismissing the bill to divorce Queen Caroline, by George Hayter, with 181 portraits. ROOM XXXVI. Arctic Explorers, chiefly connected with the search for Sir John Franklin. Also, Captain Scott (died 1912), the Antarctic explorer (window-wall).