03 February 2008

The Ancestor

A painting I have always been fascinated by and which really should be viewed en personne to fully appreciate how Sargent has captured the 'to the manner born' aristo bearing of Lord Ribblesdale.

Lord Ribblesdale by John Singer Sargent, National Gallery of Art, London. Oil on canvas

Presented by Lord Ribblesdale in memory of Lady Ribblesdale and his sons, Captain the Hon. Thomas Lister and Lieutenant the Hon. Charles Lister.

Lord Ribblesdale was Thomas Lister (1854-1925), 4th Baron Ribblesdale.

He was Master of the Buckhounds from 1892 to 1895, Liberal Whip of the House of Lords, Lord-in-Waiting, and a Trustee of the National Gallery, London, from 1909 until his death.

Sargent first met him at an Artists’ Benevolent Fund dinner then stayed with him at his house in the summer of 1899. This was an un-commissioned portrait and Sargent was trying to capture the archetype aristocratic and he fully succeeds.

The painting was done in Sargent's Tite Street studio and you can see the parquet floor and how Sargent had him stand up against the classical molding of his wall which adds to regal feel -- a man fully in control of himself and his environment.

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