John McEwen

Vigour and Pith

William Powell Frith: A Painter and His World


Sutton Publishing 272pp £20 order from our bookshop

In his mid-Victorian heyday William Powell Frith (1819–1909), best remembered as the painter of Ramsgate Sands (1852–54), Derby Day (1856–58) and The Railway Station (1860–62), was the most highly priced artist in the world. Even as late as 1875 his period piece Before Dinner in Boswell’s Lodgings, first exhibited in 1868, fetched £4,500 at Christie’s, the record price for a work by a living artist – easily comparable with the million-plus equivalents currently paid for contemporary art.

Sign Up to our newsletter

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

Follow Literary Review on Twitter