Lawrence Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity by Elizabeth Prettejohn & Peter Trippi (edd) - review by Dominic Green

Dominic Green

Victorians in Togas

Lawrence Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity


Prestel 239pp £35 order from our bookshop

As the prices of Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s paintings rise, the question of their value returns. In his lifetime, price and value were equivalent. From his election as a Royal Academician in 1879 to his death in 1912, Alma-Tadema was well paid, popular and – despite Ruskin’s objections – usually tolerated, if not praised, by the critics. But when Victorian art fell from fashion, the value of Alma-Tadema’s works collapsed. In 1955, The Finding of Moses (1904) was bought for its frame. In 1960, Christie’s was unable to sell the painting at all.

Two years later, in one of the first re-evaluations of Victorian art, a small show in New York began the Alma-Tadema revival. In 1973, the Metropolitan Museum exhibited a collection of Alma-Tademas belonging to Allen Funt (producer of Candid Camera), which now included The Finding of Moses. The Met

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

The Incomparible Monsignor

Kafka Drawings

Follow Literary Review on Twitter