Augustus John OM Viscount d’Abernon 1927–32

Artwork details

Augustus John OM 1878–1961
Viscount d’Abernon
Date 1927–32
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 2290 x 1550 mm
Acquisition Presented by Viscountess D'Abernon 1950
Not on display

Display caption

Lord d'Abernon was in his seventies when he commissioned this portrait, and had just retired as British Ambassador in Berlin. He wears his Ambassador's uniform, with the regalia of the Order of the Bath, and of St Michael and St George.
The grandeur of the pose and the huge scale are both a revival of British eighteenth century portraiture. John blended with this tradition his appreciation of El Greco, and while making the painting he visited Madrid to see El Greco's works in the Prado. Hence the elongation of the figure, and hence also the crimson and black tonality. John subsequently made a series of paintings in a style influenced by El Greco, both portraits and imaginary groups of figures.

September 2004

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