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Oil painting - Constantine John Ionides
  • Constantine John Ionides
    Watts, George Frederic OM, RA, born 1817 - died 1904
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Constantine John Ionides

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    mid 19th century-1st quarter 20th century (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Watts, George Frederic OM, RA, born 1817 - died 1904 (painter)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss Daphne Ionides

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage


mid 19th century-1st quarter 20th century (painted)


Watts, George Frederic OM, RA, born 1817 - died 1904 (painter)

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'G F Watts'
Signed by artist


Height: 30 in estimate, Width: 25.125 in estimate

Object history note

Given by Miss Daphne Ionides, 1936

Historical significance: George Frederick Watts was born on 23 September, 1817. He received no regular schooling on account of poor health, but later studied under the sculptor William Behnes and entered the R.A schools in 1835. In 1837 he achieved recognition for The Wounded Heron (Compton Watts Gal.), exhibited at the R.A. Watts won a prize of £300 for his painting Caractacus in the 1843 Westminster Hall competition. He went to Florence until 1847, where he worked under the patronage of Lady Holland. On his return to England, Watts won a further prize of £500 in the Westminster Hall competition for his Alfred inciting the Saxons to prevent the landing of the Danes. Inspired by Michelangelo and with his reputation now firmly established, Watts was determined to devote himself to grand, universal themes such as Faith; Hope; Charity; Love and Life; and Love and Death. However he rose to front rank as a portrait painter and painted of his many eminent contemporaries including Thomas Carlyle, John Stuart Mill, William Gladstone and John Everett Millais. He was elected to the A.R.A and R.A in 1867. In 1864 he married 16-year-old Ellen Terry and painted a charming allegorical portrait of her, Choosing, but the couple separated the following year. A major late sculpture, Physical Energy (1904, London, Kensington Gardens) is surprisingly modernistic. Watts presented many of his works to art galleries and institutions. He died on 1 July, 1904.

Constantine Ipliktzis, or Constantine John Ionides, (1775-1852) was a Greek textile merchant and the grandfather of the V&A museum's donor, Constantine Alexander Ionides (1833-1900). In 1815, Constantine Ipliktzis came to England with a view to exporting Manchester cloth to Greece and Turkey and established a branch of his firm in London. Constantine was famous in Athens for his charitable endowment of schools, universities and hospitals. He was married to Mariora Sendoukaki (1784-1857), and the couple had eleven children. In 1827 Constantine's fourth son, Alexander, settled in Manchester and changed his name to Ionides (Ion was the mythical ancestor of the Ionians; hence Ionides simply means 'the Greek') and founded the firm of Ionides & Co. in 1833, trading in textiles and wheat with the Balkans and near East. The family moved to London in 1834, living first at 9 Finsbury Circus, and subsequently Tulse Hill and 1, Holland Park. Alexander Constantine became Greek consul in London 1854-66, and was the friend and patron of several noted artists, including George Watts, James Abbot McNeillWhistler and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

The painting is undated, but can be compared with another portrait of Constantine (CAI 1140) and appears to show the same sitter several years later.
In 1936 the portrait was given to the V&A by Miss Daphne Ionides, grand-daughter of Constantine Alexander Ionides (1833-1900), donor of the Ionides collection.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Constantine John Ionides', George Frederick Watts


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting


Paintings; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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