Sir Max Beerbohm

Topsy and Ned Jones Settled on the Settle in Red Lion Square


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Sir Max Beerbohm 1872–1956
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 311 × 387 mm
frame: 700 × 575 × 20 mm
Bequeathed by Sir Hugh Walpole 1941

Display caption

Topsy was William Morris's nickname; 'Ned' is short for 'Edward'. After moving to London in 1856, Morris and Burne-Jones took over the rooms at Red Lion Square that Rossetti had shared with Walter Deverell (one of the original Pre-Raphaelites). There were no furnishings, so Morris designed tables, chairs, cabinets and a settle, which were made by a local carpenter. Rossetti described the results as 'intensely mediaeval' and encouraged Burne-Jones and Morris to decorate the panels with their own paintings; Rossetti also provided designs himself. This growing interest in individual craftsmanship led to the formation of Morris & Co in 1861.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

A01049 [from] ROSSETTI AND HIS FRIENDS (TWENTY-THREE DRAWINGS) 1916–17 [A01038-A01060; complete]
Bequeathed by Sir Hugh Walpole 1941.
Coll: Mrs Charles Hunter; from whom purchased by the Leicester Galleries; from whom purchased by Sir Hugh Walpole 1921.
Lit: Lynch, 1921, pp.146–50.

A series of twenty-three drawings, variously dated 1916 and 1917. Fifteen were lent by Mrs Charles Hunter to the Modern Loan Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, November 1917 (98); the complete series was first exhibited at the Leicester Galleries, September 1921 (1), in the order in which they are given here, again as Rossetti and his Friends. They were published in book form by Heinemann in 1922 as Rossetti and His Circle, possibly an allusion to Rossetti's Dante and His Circle, the second edition of his translations from the early Italian poets, published in 1874. The complete series of drawings was further exhibited in Paintings and Drawings of the 1860 Period, Tate Gallery, April–July 1923 (336), and was on loan to the Tate Gallery from June 1938. For further details, see below (artists represented in the collection will be fully discussed in the appropriate section of the catalogue).

(xii) Inscr. ‘Topsy and Ned Jones settled on the settle in Red Lion Square.’ b.l. and ‘Max 1916’ c.r.
Pencil and watercolour, 12 1/4×15 1/2 (31×38·5).
Exh: Grosvenor Gallery, November 1917 (98, 7); Leicester Galleries, September 1921 (12); Tate Gallery, April–July 1923 (336, 12); on loan to the Tate Gallery from June 1938.
Repr: Rossetti and His Circle, 1922, pl.6 (in colour); Max Beerbohm, Poet's Corner, 1943 ed., pl.2 (in colour).

William Morris and Burne-Jones in their joint studio at 17 Red Lion Square, where they lived from 1856 to 1858.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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