Studio portrait of Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Date Created



Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, London publisher

D. Appleton & Co., New York publisher

Is Version Of

L. Alma Tadema, RA,albumen print, approx. 6½ x 8½ in., by Joseph Park Mayall (1839-1922), 1883


F. G. Stephens, Artists at Home, photographed by J. P. Mayall and reproduced in facsimile by photoengraving on copper plates; edited, with biographical notes and descriptions, by Frederick George Stephens (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington; New York: Appleton & Co., 1884), n.p.


Alma-Tadema, Lawrence (1836-1912), English painter of Dutch origin

Date Issued

May 1884

Date Copyrighted

February 29, 189, Copyright owner and author of work, Joe Parkin Mayall, 67 Gascony Avenue, West Hampstead, London. Late of 548 Oxford Street, London (Public Records, The National Archives, Kew, COPY 1/423/590).

Description: “Photograph of L Alma Tadema, [Royal Academy], in his studio, leaning his head on his hand against mantel piece.”


Lawrence Alma-Tadema leans against the mantelpiece in his studio, his contrapposto suggesting movement and informality. In his left hand is a cigar, his right hand he has casually tucked into his trouser pocket. To his right is an empty chair with a tiger fur, to his left, on the mantelpiece, is a portrait bust. To the right of the mantelpiece hangs a luxurious fan. An African mask with peacock feathers is suspended above the artist. On the cornice are placed a sculpture and vases. In the space between the cornice and the mantelpiece hangs a golden cloth. In the background on the left, palm branches, an easel with a finished painting, and another painting behind it catch our eye, before our gaze wonders to the dark liminal space of the entrance into the studio. 

Is Referenced By

“Reviews.” The Art Journal 46 (1884): 256. "The portraits of Mr. Millais and Mr. Marcus Stone are excellent likenesses, but those of Mr. Alma-Tadema and Mr. Pettie somehow miss the distinguishing characteristics of the two men."

“Art in September.” The Magazine of Art 7 (September 1884): xlviii. "Mr. Mayall’s photographs—or rather, the photo-engravings on copper plates reproduced therefrom—are singularly lifeless and dull. Everybody looks as though he were sitting for his portrait; the very furniture is posing; and over all is that terrible and tremendous presence, the photographer’s light, “the light that never was on sea or land.” Mr. Calderon affronts the camera with much sternness; Sir John Gilbert has the sun in his eyes, and comes out very white and vague; Mr. Boehm, sitting desultorily among busts and statues, seems to have been caught in the act of reading the paper; while Mr. Alma Tadema, as unlike himself as possible, leans boldly and airily on the chimney-piece, and Mr. Frank Dicksee, austere yet frightened, does even as Mr. Alma Tadema, and Mr. Val Prinsep turns from his picture with a frown, as if he felt inclined to wring the photographer’s neck."

Jeremy Maas, The Victorian Art World in Photographs (London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1984), p. 123, fig. 234, p. 123.


Julian Treuherz, “Alma-Tadema, aesthete, architect and interior designer,” in Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, ed. by Edwin Becker, exhib. cat., Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, and Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1996 (New York: Rizzoli, 1997), p. 47, fig. 28.
Giles Waterfield, ed., The Artist’s Studio, exhib. cat., Compton Verney (London: Hogarth Arts, 2009), p. 68, fig. 51.
Charlotte Gere, Artistic Circles: Design & Decoration in the Aesthetic Movement (London: V&A Publishing, 2010), p. 84, fig. 57, erroneously attributed to the photographer's father, J. J. E. Mayall.
Elizabeth Prettejohn, “Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema: Studio-House, Grove End Road, London,” in In the Temple of the Self: The Artist’s Residence as a Total Work of Art: Europe and America 1800–1948, ed. by Margot Th. Brandlhuber and Michael Buhrsed (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2013), p. 107, fig. 4.
Helen Valentine, ed., Art in the Age of Queen Victoria: Treasures from the Royal Academy of Arts Permanent Collection (London: Royal Academy of Arts, in association with Yale University Press, 1999), p. 143.
Repr. in Benezit Dictionary of Artists, "Alma-Tadema, Lawrence," in Oxford Art Online.


L. Alma-Tadema, The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra, 1881-1883, oil on canvas (Private Collection)
L. Alma-Tadema, An Old Story, 1883, watercolor, British Museum.
Boy with Thorn, copy of Hellenistic original


The online edition of this work in the public domain, i.e., not protected by copyright, has been produced by the Emory University Digital Library Program.




Department of Image Collections, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Omeka record contributed by Ekaterina Koposova

Date Submitted

September 30, 2016

Date Modified

October 1, 2016
October 2, 2016
November 21, 2016, by LM
January 20, 2017, by LM
March 5, 2017, by LM

Original Format

Photoengraving on copper

Image size

11.5 cm x 16.5 cm

Sheet size

16.5 cm x 22 cm


(Printed on the mount beneath the image) J P Mayall Photo | London published by Sampson Low Marston Searle & Rivington 188 Fleet St. | Park Lane Studio London | L. ALMA-TADEMA R. A.





Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, London publisher


Cite As

Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, London publisher and D. Appleton & Co., New York publisher , “L. ALMA-TADEMA, R.A.,” Victorian Artists at Home, accessed May 25, 2024, https://artistsathome.emorydomains.org/items/show/28.

Item Relations


dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Townshend House, Studio-home of L. Alma-Tadema dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Lawrence Alma-Tadema dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Alma Tadema's Studio dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Lawrence Alma-Tadema dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Townshend House, Studio-home of L. Alma-Tadema dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Lawrence Alma-Tadema dcterms:relation This Item