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Studio: international art — 10.1897

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Portraits of British Artists

and showed us work far superior in conception and
technical mastery to what was then produced by
others in Germany. The achievements of foreign
countries were also introduced. Parisian work
proved especially interesting, as the prints of
Carriere, Cheret, Lunois, Helleu, and the Estampe
Originale demonstrated that beyond the Vosges,
black-and-white art was coming to life again. The
improvement upon earlier men was especially plain
in the case of lithography. New artists had
managed to obtain new effects and the technique
of lithography was skilfully developed.

Extremes meet. Thoma chose lithography be-
cause it allowed of the greatest simplicity of tech-
nique. He remained true to himself and eschewed
all subtleties here as in painting. He depended
only on simple strong line and spare modelling.
Some of his portraits—for instance, those of his
mother, of Miss Sattler—are very powerful and
good. Many of his lithographs, all of which
appeared only in small editions, were afterwards
coloured by hand and gave him an opportunity of
displaying his splendid decorative taste. He
lithographs borders of angels' heads, floral designs,
and the like, which he pastes upon his picture
frames and colours in this manner. The portrait
of himself, now in the Royal Gallery at Dresden,
furnishes a brilliant example of this. Lately he
has experimented with algraphy (a process in which
aluminium plates are used instead of stones) and
with colour-printing.

Though beginning to be well advanced in years,
Thoma is as active as ever, and we may therefore
hope to receive many a fine new work at his hands,
though none of them will probably alter the aspect
of his artistic personality.


All visitors to Florence are familiar with the
galleries devoted to portraits of artists of all
nations, painted by their own hands. The collec-
tion was commenced by Cardinal Leopoldo de
Medicis, whose nephew, Cosimo the Third, Grand
Duke of Tuscany, built a special room in 1681 to
receive this collection, which has been steadily
added to ever since. The number of artists
represented is very large, and at first sight it may
seem to the spectator that the presence of an
artist's portrait in this collection does not go very

far to establish a claim to a niche in the Temple of
Fame. The portraits are, however, most interest-
ing as a collection, and worthy of more study than
can be given to them by the passing student. For
obvious reasons a painter's own personality has
ever presented a ready theme for the exercise of
his art. Some may have painted their own portrait
from mere vanity, some as a gift to a friend, some
for a commission, like that of the Grand Duke of
Tuscany; others have done so in order to practise
their art at a time when circumstances did not
permit of the use of any other model. Anyhow,
there are but few artists who have not, from some
motive or another, registered their own features,
and bequeathed them as autographs to posterity.
Raphael, Titian, Bellini, Velazquez, Albert Diirer,
Holbein, Hals, Rembrandt, Reynolds, Gains-
borough, Turner, have all raised their own monu-
ment in this fashion ; and in cases where such por-
traiture is not forthcoming, it is an assumption to
say that it never existed.

When the long-looked-for opportunity came for
the re-arrangement of the National Portrait Gallery
in its new home by St. Martin's Church, special
consideration was given to the collection of artists'
portraits, in order that it might be seen whether
there were enough of them to form a separate
gallery. As it turned out, there was ample material
for such a selection, although the majority of the
portraits were not painted by the artists themselves.
Still there remained about thirty-two portraits of
artists, drawn or painted by themselves, and suffi-
cient to form the nucleus of such a collection as
that in the Uffizi, only, in the case of the National
Portrait Gallery, strictly limited to artists of British
birth or naturalisation.

Two of the earliest painters of known British
origin are represented by autograph portraits in the
Gallery, William Dobson (1610-1646) and Robert
Walker (died 1660). Portraits by themselves are
known of many artists, mostly of foreign extraction,
who practised painting in England, such as Van
Dyck, Mytens, Cornelius Jansen, Isaac Oliver, and
Hilliard, the miniature-painter. Somewhere in
Lord Fitzwilliam's house at Milton Abbey there is
said to be an autograph portrait of George Gower,
serjeant-painter to Queen Elizabeth, who obtained
a special privilege for the painting of the queen's
portrait, and yet has not left a single portrait
authenticated by his name. With Dobson and
Walker, however, the series in the National Por-
trait Gallery commences. Both of these painters
have been most unjustly treated by the historians
of art. Working as they did under the shadow of
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