Collection Online
oil on canvas
94.2 × 140.6 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1888
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

Purchased from the artist by Thomas Agnew (dealer), London, 30 June 1860, stock no. 1978, as Wheatfield; from where purchased by John Chapman (1810–77), 13 December 1860; his collection, Hill End House, Mottram, Cheshire, 1860-77; by descent to Charles Chapman (1850-1924), Thurlestone, Penistone, Yorkshire, 1877; collection of Charles Chapman, until 1888; by whom sold to Agnew's (dealer), London, 8 May 1888, stock no. 4861, as A Cornfield; from where purchased, by Sir George Verdon, on the advice of Sir James McCulloch, for the Felton Bequest, 15 May 1888.

Exhibited Royal Academy, London, 1860, no. 199; Paris Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1867, no.66, lent by J Chapman Esq.; Manchester Jubilee Exhibition, Manchester, 1887, no. 896

In 1851 John Linnell, who had an established reputation as a portrait painter and engraver in London, moved to Redhill, Surrey. The large country property he acquired there was not only a boon for his family of nine children but also enabled him to indulge, as he put it, ‘my first love, poetic landscape, which I lived to paint; although I painted portraits to live’.


Original, by Thos. Agnew & Sons, Manchester

It is not clear whether this frame is the first framing of the painting. It is in the manner of the frames made in Melbourne in the 1860s by Isaac Whitehead and others.1 It may have been made at the time of purchase; frames often were. The style is consistent with the hybrid forms that track through the second half of the nineteenth century, with diverse decorative elements and motifs. The pattern on the inner scotia is reminiscent of strapwork patterns published by Owen Jones in The Grammar of Ornament in 1856. These patterns are a recurring feature of frames of this type through the 1860s and 1870s. Frames like this illustrate the work produced, in considerable numbers and of varying quality, from pattern books.2 The label transcribes: THOs. AGNEW & SONS Carvers, Gilders, PRINTSELLERS & PUBLISHERS to the Queen, Prince Albert & THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE REPOSITORY OF ARTS Exchange Str.t MANCHESTER.3


1 See entries for Whitehead and Stevens in particular.

2 See for example the 1910 catalogue of the London frame maker H. Morell, reproduced by Dover, New York, 1991. A selection of frame profiles from Ashworth, Kirk & Co Ltd., Nottingham are found in Frameworks, by Paul Mitchell & Lynn Roberts, Merrell Holberton, London, 1996, p.351.

3 References to Agnew, frame makers, are not plentiful. A brief history of the company is offered on the website of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. Frames by Thomas Agnew have been noted on works by: Frederic, Lord Leighton; Thomas Faed; John Everet Millias; William Frith; Briton Riviere and Walter Severn, dating between 1873 and 1895 (from information supplied by Lynn Roberts). A note to Agnew is provided in Paul Mitchell & Lynn Roberts, A History of European Picture Frames, Merrell Holberton, London, 1996, p70. Another frame by Thomas Agnew is found on Godfrey Knellers’, Sir Thomas Aston (1900-4).

Thos. Agnew & Sons
Exchange Street, Manchester

The frame is built from composition decoration on a softwood chassis. The mitred corners are re-enforced with wooden blocks on the reverse. The whole frame is gilded with gold leaf, mostly on an oil base, with water gilded highlights on the cross-banding.


The frame has been re-gessoed and re-gilded in a previous restoration. The original articulation of the surface and the crisp detail of the ornament have been partly obscured in the process.

131.8 x 177.5 x 12.0 cm; sight 92.6 x 138.8 cm
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National Portrait Gallery


Location of stamp
Partly hidden by cross bar left of centre reverse of canvas
Ink stencil
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National Portrait Gallery