A little known portrait of John William Waterhouse, painter of the famous Lady of Shalott, has been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. One of hundreds of portraits from the later Victorian era fully catalogued for the first time, it went on public display today.
Waterhouse is an artist about whose pesonal life very little is known; there are hardly any portraits of him and although this small oil is in consequence an important work, unfortunately for Waterhouse fans, it portrays him in rather miserable, scowling mode, his eyes shaded and his mouth obscured by moustache and beard. In fact it probably wasn't intended as a portrait but as a study for a figure in a crowd scene.
Full details of its story are in the Later Victorian Portraits catalogue, www.npg.org.uk/lvc, the first such period publication to be published online by the NPG , which is being launched today. Other artists in the LVP include (to mention only those of especial interest) Louise Jopling, Julia Cameron, Blanche Lindsay, Elizabeth Butler, Emilia Dilke, May Morris, Louisa Waterford, Laura Alma-Tadema and Mary Thornycroft..