Valentine Cameron Prinsep


Valentine Cameron Prinsep


Prinsep, Valentine Cameron (1838-1904),
English painter


Portrait: Valentine C. Prinsep by Ralph Winwood Robinson, 1892. Published by Published by C. Whittingham & Co. Platinum print. National Portrait Gallery, London.


Omeka record contributed by Jenifer Norwalk

Date Submitted

November 19, 2016

Date Modified

December 16, 2016, by LM

Birth Date

February 14, 1838


Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Death Date

November 11, 1904


Painter, writer

Biographical summary

During much of his childhood, Prinsep resided in Holland House in Kensington, also home of the artist George Frederic Watts. He was expected to join the Civil Service like his father, but instead decided to become an artist. Growing up with Watts, Prinsep frequently encountered artists such as William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Edward Burne Jones, and this exposure likely influenced his decision to enter the art world. He traveled to Italy with Burne-Jones and shortly after studied at Gleyre’s atelier in Paris from 1859-60. His early works include The Queen was in the Parlour Eating Bread and Honey (1860) and How Bianco Capello Sought to Poison her Brother-in-Law the Cardinal de Medici (1862), both revealing his interest in Pre- Raphaelitism; the latter was the first painting he exhibited at the Royal Academy. The next major influence on his artistic career, evident in works such as Home from the Gleaning (1875) and The Linen Gatherers (1876), was the eclectic St John’s Wood Clique, a group concerned with professional visibility and known for their historic genre style. Prinsep’s closest friend was Frederic Leighton. Both joined the 38th Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps, and later purchased neighboring plots of land on Holland Park Road for custom-built studio houses. Phillip Webb, who had also designed the Red House For William Morris, completed Prinsep's studio house. Prinsep was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1878. He created a number of paintings based on his Indian travels including, A Nautch Girl (1878) and The Roum-i-Sultana (1879) and also wrote (and published) a journal titled Imperial India: an Artist’s Journals in 1879. By 1884, Prinsep had become a wealthy man, and on July 28, 1884, he married Florence Leyland, daughter of a Liverpool shipping millionaire and patron of Rossetti, Burne-Jones and Whistler. With Florence he had three sons: Thoby, Anthony and Nicholas. Prinsep died on November 11, 1904, at Welbeck House, the home of his surgeon, following a prostrate operation. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1894, and appointed Professor of Painting in 1901. His later works include Ayesha (1887), orientalist in style, and La Révolution (1896), a historical painting set during the French Revolution. Prinsep is remembered as “well known in Art and highly esteemed in Society… a thorough artist in his aspirations, a fine painter, and a right good honest man.”


Steelcroft, F. "Mr. Val C. Prinsep RA." In Strand Magazine 12, 1896. 

Dakers, Caroline. "Valentine Cameron Prinsep." In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (accessed November 19, 2016).
Marsh, Jan. The Pre-Raphaelite Circle. London: National Portrait Gallery, 2005.
Dakers, Caroline. The Holland Park Circle: Artists and Victorian Society. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.
"Valentine Cameron Prinsep." In Oxford Art Online. (accessed November 19, 2016).


Prinsep Face.jpg



Valentine Cameron Prinsep

Cite As

“Valentine Cameron Prinsep,” Victorian Artists at Home, accessed May 25, 2024,

Item Relations

This Item dcterms:relation Item: V. C. PRINSEP, A.R.A.
This Item dcterms:relation Item: VAL. C. PRINSEP, A.R.A.
This Item dcterms:relation Item: 1 Holland Park Road