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This is one of a number of half-length self-portraits by G F Watts, who was one of the greatest portrait painters of the Victorian era. In this picture he assumes the attitude of the bohemian artist, wearing a dark slouch hat and black velvet coat. This style of dress reflects Watts’s life with his friends, the Prinseps, at Little Holland House in Kensington where he lived from 1850 until 1875.
Watts later wrote ‘I paint myself constantly, that is to say whenever I want to make an experiment in method or colour and I am not in the humour to make a design’.

August 2004