Edwin Longsden Long (1829-1891)

Artist Name Edwin Longsden Long (1829-1891)
Title Matilda Weatherall Smoking a Cigarette
Description This intriguing circular oil portrait painting is by noted British artist Sir Edwin Long RA. Painted circa 1870 the unusual subject matter is a Victorian young woman smoking a cigarette. We know she is Matilda Wetherall, inscribed verso, but what her relationship to Long is remains unclear. Smoking amongst women of the middle classes in the Victorian era was generally considered unseemly, and a woman could be considered 'fast'. However amongst the working classes or travellers it was more acceptable.
Inscribed to label verso.
Provenance 'Given to Mr. C. Scott Christmas 1925' inscribed verso.
Medium Oil on Board
Size 17 x 17 inches
Frame Circular gilt frame, 22 inches in diameter.
Condition Good condition.
Biography Edwin Longsden Long, RA (Royal Academy) (1829-1891),  was an English genre, history, biblical and portrait painter. He was born in Bath, Somerset, the son of E. Long, an artist (from Kelston in Somerset), and was educated at Dr. Viner’s School in Bath. Adopting the profession of a painter, Long came to London and studied in the British Museum. He was subsequently a pupil in the school of James Mathews Leigh in Newman Street London, and practiced first as a portrait artist painting Charles Greville, Lord Ebury and others. Long made the acquaintance of John Phillip RA, and accompanied him to Spain, where they spent much time. Long was greatly influenced by the paintings of Velasquez and other Spanish masters, and his earlier pictures, such as La Posada'(1864) and Lazarilla and the blind beggar'(1870), were painted under Spanish influence. His first important pictures were The Suppliants'(1872) and The Babylonian marriage market (both subsequently purchased by Thomas Holloway). In 1874, he visited Egypt and Syria, and subsequently his work took a new direction. He became thoroughly imbued with middle-eastern archaeology and painted Oriental scenes such as The Egyptian Feast (1877) and The Gods and their makers (1878). Long was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1870 and an academician (RA) in 1881. His pictures always attracted attention and his Diana or Christ? (1881) greatly enhanced his reputation at the time. His pictures suited the taste and appealed to the religious sentiment of a large portion of the public, and their popularity was increased by a wide circulation of engravings. He consequently determined to exhibit his next pictures in a separate gallery of his own in Bond Street, London and there in 1883, and the following years, his Anno Domini’and Zeuxis at Crotona met with great commercial success. Long died from pneumonia resulting from influenza, at his home, “Kelston” in Netherhall Gardens, Hampstead, on 15 May 1891, in his sixty-second year. He was buried in West Hampstead Cemetery. Besides the “Edwin Long” Gallery in Old Bond Street, a number of his pictures was collected together after his death, and formed the nucleus of a gallery of Christian Art, which replaced the works of Gustave Doré in the well-known gallery in New Bond Street. He painted for the Baroness Burdett Coutts (his chief patron) portraits of herself, her friend Mrs. Brown, and Henry Irving. Among other portraits of his latter years were a memorial portrait of the Earl of Iddesleigh, of which he painted a replica for the National Portrait Gallery, portraits of Cardinal Manning, Samuel Cousins, Sir Edmund Henderson and others.
Price £3800
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