Tuesday, 19 July 2016

94 degrees in the Shade

I have been immersed in preparing a lecture and suddenly summer has arrived, so this painting captures today perfectly.

94 degrees in the Shade  Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema  
© Fitzwilliam Museum

It was painted in 1876 at Godstone in Surrey and shows Alma-Tadema's friend's son, Herbert Thompson, just before he went up to Trinity College, Cambridge.   Herbert went on to become a barrister, lecturer and an eminent Egyptologist.  The Fitzwilliam also has twin portraits of Herbert and his father, Sir Henry Thompson, an very eminent surgeon,  painted by their friend Alma-Tadema.  In 1877 he had joined father and son for a painting holiday on board their boat Gypsy, on the Thames, and painted Herbert's portrait  - wearing a very fetching smoking hat (below) - on one of the houseboat doors;  the  following year  he painted the father.   Both the Thompsons were art collectors,  especially of Whistler and Fantin-Latour, but here Herbert is pursuing lepidoptery (above).

Young Herbert Thompson  by L. Alma-Tadema © Fitzwilliam Museum

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