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University of Texas at Austin

William Rothenstein:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Rothenstein, William, 1872-1945
Title: William Rothenstein Art Collection
Dates: 1896?-1944?
Extent: 2 boxes, 1 oversize folder, 1 framed painting (34 items)
Abstract: The collection consists of thirty-four original works of art. The drawings, lithographs, and one oil painting are portraits of various important figures who were contemporaries of Rothenstein.
Call Number: Art Collection AR-00232
Language: No linguistic material present
Access: Open for research. A minimum of twenty-four hours is required to pull art materials to the Reading Room.

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Purchases (R16, R162, R830, R1009, R1901, R2109, R2391, R2767, R3011, R3992, R4562), and gift
Provenance: Three items came from the Dobie Collection.
Processed by: Alice Egan, 1997, and Helen Young, 2001

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

The English portrait artist Sir William Rothenstein was born January 29, 1872, near Bradford, Yorkshire. William Rothenstein was the son of Moritz Rothenstein, who came to England from Hanover in 1859, and the brother of Charles Lambert Rutherston, the collector, and Albert Daniel Rutherston, the artist. William Rothenstein studied for one year at the Slade School in London under Alphonse Legros, after which he spent four years in Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian. While in Paris, Rothenstein met many of the important artists of the time; he was particularly influenced by James Whistler, Edgar Degas, and Henri Fantin-Latour. After his return to England in 1893, Rothenstein was commissioned by John Lane to execute a series of portraits of Oxford figures, which was published as Oxford Characters: Twenty-four Lithographs (London: J. Lane, 1896). During his life he went on to create over 750 portrait drawings and 135 lithographs.
Rothenstein was a professor of civic art at the University of Sheffield, a principal of the Royal College of Art, a trustee of the Tate Gallery, and a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission. He served as an official war artist during World War I, and was an unofficial artist to the Royal Air Force during World War II. Rothenstein died in London on February 14, 1945.


Ormond, R. L. Sir William Rothenstein. McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Art, ed. B. S. Myers. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969.
Towndrow, K. R. Sir William Rothenstein. The Dictionary of National Biography: 1940-1950, ed. L. G. W. Legg & E. T. Williams. London: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Scope and Contents

The William Rothenstein Art Collection consists of thirty-four original works of art, dating between 1896 and circa 1944, by William Rothenstein. The works (drawings, lithographs, and one oil painting) are portraits of various important figures who were contemporaries of Rothenstein. Subjects include: Maurice Baring, Max Beerbohm, Laurence Binyon, Edward Carpenter, R. B. Cunninghame Graham, Albert Einstein, André Gide, Edmund Gosse, Harley Granville-Barker, Laurence Housman, W. H. Hudson, Henry James, Florence Kahn, Eric Kennington, Frederic Manning, Axel Munthe, George William Russell ("A. E."), George Bernard Shaw, James Stephens, Dame Ellen Terry, and W. B. Yeats. The works are arranged alphabetically by portrait subject.

Related Material

The Art Collection also has two caricatures by Max Beerbohm of William Rothenstein in its Max Beerbohm Collection. The Ransom Center has in its Manuscripts Collection material related to Rothenstein in the Sir William Rothenstein Collection and in the collection of John Lane Company Records. The Ransom Center's Photography Collection has Rothenstein material in its Literary File.

William Rothenstein--Item List