Ambrose McEvoy

W.A. Jowitt, later Earl Jowitt


Not on display

Ambrose McEvoy 1877–1927
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1283 × 1022 mm
Presented by Francis Howard through the National Loan Exhibitions Committee 1914

Display caption

McEvoy studied at the Slade School with Orpen and Augustus John, and had the reputation for a fine technical skill in oils, learnt from study with Whistler. There is a contrast between his earlier, solidly painted portraits, and his later blurred and sketchy handling of paint. The portrait of W A Jowitt (1885-1957) is at a mid point between these styles. Jowitt was then a young barrister, and later became Lord Chancellor under Atlee’s 1945 Government. He was also Chairman of the Trustees of the Tate Gallery.

Gallery label, July 2008

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Catalogue entry


Inscr. ‘McEvoy’ b.r.
Canvas, 50 1/2×40 1/4 (128·5×102·5).
Presented by Francis Howard through the National Loan Exhibitions Committee 1914.
Exh: National Portrait Society, 1914 (75); International Society, autumn 1914 (among works purchased for presentation to the Tate); R.A., Late Members, winter 1928 (543).
Lit.: Johnson, 1919, I, p.3, repr. pl.26; ‘Wigs’, 1923, pp.16 and 63, as painted in 1912, repr. pl.21.
Repr: Gleadowe, 1924, pl.11.

William Allen Jowitt, 1st Earl Jowitt, was a leading lawyer and politician. Born 15 April 1885, he was educated at Marlborough, New College, Oxford, and the Middle Temple; he took silk in 1922. In 1929 he left the Liberal Party and became Attorney-General under Ramsay Macdonald until 1931. Between 1940 and 1945 he held various government offices and on the Labour victory of 1945 he became Lord Chancellor, a post he retained until the fall of the Labour Government in 1951; he was Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords from 1952 until 1955. A Trustee of the Tate Gallery 1947–53, he served as Chairman 1951–3. He died on 16 August 1957.

Another portrait by McEvoy of Lord Jowitt was exhibited at the Leicester Galleries, May–June 1927 (59), as painted in 1913.

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

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