John Singer Sargent, photograph album of paintings

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1082 JSS
  • Former Reference
      GB 1082 MS 188
  • Dates of Creation
      c. 1910
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 volume

Scope and Content

Large volume containing 7 mounted black and white photographs of works by John Singer Sargent, thought to have been painted for the Vickers family. The volume also contains one loose mounted photograph thought to be of Mrs V. C. Vickers by an unknown artist and a page of notes by former NPG Deputy Director Richard Ormond dated Oct 1981 containing information on the paintings. The top left hand corner of the front cover of the volume bears the inscription 'John S. Sargent, R.A.'

Administrative / Biographical History

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was born in Florence to American parents who after the death of their first child travelled around Europe only returning to America for visits.

Encouraged by his mother Sargent began to study art in Paris in 1874, making his debut at the Paris Salon in 1877. He remained in Paris until 1884 when he left for London, where he had been requested to paint members of the Vickers family.

The late 1880s saw him travel to New York where his first sustained success as a portrait painter was achieved. In Britain his recognition was slower in coming but had been achieved by the summer of 1893, by the mid-1890s demand was so great that he was painting three sitters a day. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1897.

Sargent spent most of the 1890s studio bound but from the early 1900s he was able to spend the summer and autumn of each year painting landscapes in Switzerland, Italy and Spain. He spent more time working on landscapes; whilst the demands of portraiture never completely ceased he compromised by drawing charcoal portraits.

In total over his career Sargent produced 1200 oils, 1000 watercolours, three mural cycles and a countless number of drawings. When the First World War broke out he was in Austria, he spent part of the war in America from April 1916 to May 1918. On his return to Britain he accepted a commission as an official war artist and travelled to the western front. He was also commissioned by Sir Abe Bailey to paint a group portrait of the twenty two general officers who had helped to secure victory (NPG 1954). He died in his sleep on 15 April 1925.

This biographical description is largely based on Elaine Kilmurray and Richard Ormond, 'Sargent, John Singer (1856–1925)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2010 [, accessed 28 March 2017]

Access Information

Available to view by appointment in the Heinz Archive and Library Public Study Room, to make an appointment contact Archive Reception . Although records are generally available for public consultation, some information in them, such as personal data or information supplied to the Gallery in confidence, may be restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Personal photography is permitted for research purposes only. Photocopying is not permitted.