SIR LAWRENCE ALMA-TADEMA, RA
1836 - 1912
LIMITED TO 750 COPIES
The Biography and Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings of
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, OM, RA
by Vern Swanson
ISBN: 0 906030 22 6
512 pages; 444 illustrations including 60 in full colour; concordance, index, bibliography
Page size: 350 x 240 mm; 13¾ x 9½ inches
Full colour slipcase, maroon gold-blocked buckram, top edge gilt.
The life and work of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema is presented in a fittingly
high-quality publication written by the world's leading authority on the artist, Vern
Swanson. The well-illustrated biography takes us chronologically through the artist's
life, which started in a hamlet outside Leeuwarden, Friesland, North Holland and
culminated in his being awarded the Order of Merit. He was buried in St Paul's cathedral.
Alma-Tadema led a varied and interesting life in high Victorian society. His friends
included Tchaikovsky, Whistler, Sargent, Burne-Jones and Khnopff. His talents were
prodigious. Not only was he one of the pre-eminent painters of the day but his activities
also extended into architecture, furniture and theatre. He was as willingly influenced by
the new wave of Japonism as by archaeological discoveries of the period. His style
continued to develop throughout his career. In the later paintings one sees more than a
hint of symbolism affecting his work.
Such was his impact on the culture of his day that even cigars and women's clothing were
named after him. His painting is as controversial now as it was in his lifetime. It was
berated for its risqué Edwardian humour and for depicting Victorians in togas, yet it
influenced film-makers for at least a generation after his death.
The catalogue deals with all Tadema's known oil paintings in chronological order. Each
item is listed under its main title with other titles which have been used, details of the
Opus number where applicable and date, medium, size and signature. This is followed by
detailed information about provenance, previous exhibitions and any previous published
references. Finally, notes on the subject matter and sources used for the work are
included together with any relevant anecdote or criticism the painting has inspired.
The captioned illustrations follow the Catalogue Raisonné.