London, South Kensington
4 September 2014
Thomas Woolner, R.A. (1825-1892)
Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, in profile to the right
signed and dated 'T. Woolner. Sc. 1855' (lower centre)
white plaster, roundel
9 ½ in. (24.2 cm.) diam.
Samuel Laurence, P.R.A.
Horace N. Pym.
Creative Encounters: Portraits of Writers, Artists and Musicians, the Roy Davids Collection; Bonham's, London, 3 October 2005, lot 26.
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F. Kaplan, Thomas Carlyle, Cambridge, 1983.
R. Ormonde, Early Victorian Portraits, London, 1973.
R. Ormonde, Thomas Carlyle, London, 1981.
A. Woolner, Thomas Woolner, R.A., His Life and Letters, New York, 1917.
One of the founder members of The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Woolner met Rossetti in 1847, and by 1850 he was contributing poetry to The Germ. Emigrating to Australia in 1852, after failing to win the commission for the Wordsworth Memorial, he returned two years later to make a living as a portrait sculptor. He continued to frequent Pre-Raphaelite circles and became friends with William Allingham, William Bell Scott and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Thomas Carlyle approved of the Pre-Raphaelites, and their early work owes much to his high moral ideals. He had an extraordinary influence on the thinking of many of his contemporaries and was an historically important figure in the politics of Victorian England. The present work was described by James Froude, Carlyle's biographer to be 'by far the best likeness of him in the days of his strength'. The National Portrait Gallery, London, has a black painted version of the cast.
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