Constantine Alexander Ionides

Oil Painting
1880 (painted)
Constantine Alexander Ionides thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Paintings, Room 81, The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Before settling in London in 1864, Constantine Alexander Ionides (1833-1900) represented his father’s firm in Constantinople (now Istanbul) . He made a considerable fortune on the Stock Exchange and began to collect pictures on a large scale in 1878. He left his collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
oil on canvas
Brief Description
Oil painting on canvas, 'Constantine Alexander Ionides', George Frederick Watts, 1880
Physical Description
Three-quarter face, half-length portrait of a brown-eyed man with grey hair, moustache, whiskers and short beard. He turns to the left and looks towards the viewer. He wears a black coat, between the lapels of which is seen part of a red tie or waistcoat. The background is red.
Dimensions
  • Estimate height: 57.8cm
  • Estimate width: 50.5cm
Style
Credit line
Bequeathed by Constantine Alexander Ionides
Object history
Bequeathed by Constantine Alexander Ionides, 1900. However, it was stipulated in the will that this, along with 19 other family portraits, should stay in the family until the death of his wife - she died in 1920 when the paintings were received by the museum.



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. With his reputation now firmly established, Watts was determined to devote himself to grand, universal themes, inspired by his study of Michelangelo, 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 Alexander Ionides (1833-1900), who bequeathed his large collection of paintings, drawings, prints and etchings to the V&A museum, is shown here aged 47 in a three-quarter face, half-length portrait. George Watts enjoyed a lifelong friendship with the Ionides family and painted over fifty portraits for them, spread over five generations. Constantine Alexander Ionides's art collection impressed his contemporaries and subsequent generations by its wide variety of schools, periods, and artists. Outstanding among the old masters are paintings by Nardo di Cione (c.1350-c.1360), Botticelli (c.1470), Tintoretto (self-portrait, 1548), Rembrandt (1640), and Louis le Nain (c.1640-c.1648). Under the influence of the painter Alfred Legros, a close friend with whom he travelled abroad, Ionides bought a wide selection of nineteenth-century French paintings, of which the best-known are Delacroix's sketch for the Shipwreck of Don Juan (1840), Millet's Wood Sawyers (c.1850), and Degas's Ballet Scene from the Opera 'Robert le Diable' (1876), bought from the dealer Durand-Ruel in 1881 and the first painting by that artist to enter an English museum.



In the terms of Constantine Alexander's will, it was stipulated that this, along with 19 other family portraits, should stay in the family until the death of his wife - she died in 1920 when the paintings were received by the museum. Lent to the exhibition of works by G.F. Watts held at the New Gallery, Winter Exhibition, 1896-7.
Subject depicted
Summary
Before settling in London in 1864, Constantine Alexander Ionides (1833-1900) represented his father’s firm in Constantinople (now Istanbul) . He made a considerable fortune on the Stock Exchange and began to collect pictures on a large scale in 1878. He left his collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Collection
Accession Number
CAI.1141

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJune 17, 2003
Record URL