N02976 HENRY JAMES 1913
Inscr. ‘F. Derwent Wood 1913’ under left shoulder.
Marble, 16 1/4×9 1/2 (41×30×24).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1914.
Exh: R.A., 1914 (2208); Works by the late Sir Hamo Thornycroft, R.A., and F. Derwent Wood, R.A., R.A., winter 1927 (28).
Henry James (1843–1916), the famous American novelist, settled in London in 1876. He became a naturalized British subject in July 1915, and was awarded the Order of Merit in the New Year's Honours List 1916. He died on 28 February that same year, at his flat in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. To celebrate Henry James's seventieth birthday, two hundred and seventy of his friends subscribed to present him with his portrait by John Singer Sargent; this he bequeathed to the National Portrait Gallery. As sufficient money was left over Sargent commissioned this bust from Derwent Wood, also for presentation to Henry James, but when it was suggested as a Chantrey Purchase James agreed to relinquish it in exchange for a bronze cast. This may have been the one later owned by Sargent (exh. British Empire Exhibition, 1925 (T.78) and repr. in illustrated supplement, p.139). Another bronze replica was presented by local public subscription to Chelsea Reference Library in March 1919. It bears no inscription.
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II