Friday, March 04, 2011

23Feb1882, A Marred Portrait of Gladstone

LONDON, February 23rd, 1882.
—Went with Mazy to young Richmond's and saw his wonderful new picture of Uncle W. It has a sort of "Vision of Ezekiel" look about it; he is in a red robe (splendidly managed) and looks over one's head right out to a distant horizon with a wild, inspired expression; the eyes are miracles of painting, and indeed so is all the face, and it is a most powerful likeness. (An engraving from it was much finer than the painting, '87.) But he has cruelly marred the effect by a perverse rendering of the skin, making it coarse and weatherbeaten to the greatest degree, as if he had been a Scotch shepherd; the hand too is a ploughman's. This is unaccountable, for, tho' Uncle W. has a very sallow and deeply-lined complexion, the texture of his skin is particularly fine. The picture makes him 10 years older than he is. Also the forehead is too high it is broad, not high. Dined with Justice Brett [FN: Afterwards Lord Esher.] and sat by Ld. Derby who made himself mighty agreeable.

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