- Also known as
primary name: Legros, Alphonse
- individual; painter/draughtsman; printmaker; sculptor/medallist; British; French; Male
- Life dates
- Etcher, lithographer and painter of landscape, genre and historical subjects and medallist. Full name Alphonse Vivant Legros; born Dijon, apprenticed to a builder and decorator; 1851 moved to Paris, where he worked as scene-painter, he also studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, exhibited at the Salon and was included in Henri Fantin-Latour's portrait 'L'Hommage à Delacroix' (1865); moved to London in 1863 with the advice of James Abbott McNeill Whistler (q.v.) and a few years later was appointed teacher of etching at the South Kensington School of Art. In 1876 became Slade Professor at University College London, succeeding Sir Edward John Poynter (q.v.); founder member of the Royal Society of Painter Etcher and Engravers.
Legros gave a large number of his own etchings, as well as many by his pupils (often unidentified) to the BM. For the work of the pu[pils, see 1877,0512.851 to 862; 1878,0209.91 to 104; 1878,0413.14 to 33; 1878,0810.607 to 618; 1879,0308.24 to 35; 1879,0510.464 to 496. The last group is of objects in the V&A. See also 1922,0718.11 to 37 for a different group of work by pupils given by F.R.Meatyard.
- Timothy Wilcox, 'Alphonse Legros 1837-1911' (Dijon, 1987); Philip Attwood, The medals of Alphonse Legros, 'The Medal', 5 (1984), pp.7-23.
Note on Legros prints:
Legros's prints were listed in a number of different catalogues that appeared during the course of his life, some elaborate, some summary. They all stick to a consistent numbering system, but none of them gives the entire sequence (apart perhaps from the unpublished catalogue in Glasgow by Harold Wright). The British Museum collection is organised according to this consistent numbering system, which is here called a Legros number.
The catalogues from which this numbering sequence can be deduced are:
A Poulet-Malassis & A W Thibaudeau, 'Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre gravé et lithographié de Alphonse Legros', Paris, 1877 (168 nos)
H.Beraldi IX (publ. in 1889), pp.93-105 (follows P&T and continues to no.258)
G.Soulier & L.Legros, 'L'oeuvre gravé et lithographié de Alphonse Legros', 1904 (continues the above numbering up to no.631)
NB of the above three catalogues, the first is good, but the other two are very summary. The Bliss catalogue (described next) is not complete, but gives much fuller state descriptions than Beraldi and Soulier, whose numbering it follows.
'A catalogue of the etchings, drypoints and lithographs by AL in the collection of F.E.Bliss', with an introduction by Campbell Dodgson, 1923
Harold Wright's manuscript catalogue (unpublished) with associated notes, is now in Glasgow University Library.
In the catalogue entries, the 'Legros' number is given first, followed by a second reference to Poulet-Malassis & Thibaudeau and/or to the catalogue of the Bliss collection (if the prints appear there). No reference is made to Beraldi or to Soulier & Legros as not being worth consulting.
In 2019 a large number of prints and drawings by Legros were acquired by The British Museum from the John Christian collection. Two files of invoices, research notes and Christian's annotated Bliss catalogue of Legros's work was also acquired. These documents are kept with Christian's archive files with Curator of the British School.
A portfolio previously owned by George Howard containing prints by Legros 2019.7015.349-2019.7015.362 and reproductions of his work was also acquired with the John Christian collection. The portfolio and reproductions have been kept in the portfolio store Prints and Drawings Dept.