Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Richard Jack - The Toast

Price Realized £94,850


signed, dated and inscribed '332 The Toast Richard Jack A.R.A. ... Jan 1913.' (on a fragmentary label on the reverse of the frame) and further signed and inscribed 'Royal Academy Title: 'The Toast' Artist: Richard Jack 2 Earl's Court Square SW. N/So 1' (on an old label on the reverse)

oil on canvas
60¼ x 84 in. (153.1 x 213.3 cm.)

London, Royal Academy, 1913, no. 542.

Painted on the eve of the First World War this picture is an evocation of a dinner held a century earlier, during which a toast is proposed to the young and beautiful hostess. A group is assembled in the dining room of a well appointed house, around a table laden with crystal. Secure in their prosperity, they are also saluting their good fortune. It is a depiction of a confident, and comfortable England.

The picture was executed at the height of Jack's career. The artist had made a name exhibiting portraits at the Royal Academy, and the previous year his Rehearsal with Nikisch had been presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest to the Tate Gallery. The following year, 1914, he was elected A.R.A, becoming a full Academician in 1921. While showing a debt to the style and props of portraits by Romney and Gainsborough a century earlier, Jack also assimilated the influence of contemporaries such as Sargent, Lavery and Orpen. Along with Collier, Solomon, Henry and Harcourt he was to provide the central consensus of Edwardian portraiture at the Royal Academy and New Gallery exhibitions during the opening years of the century.

Born in Sunderland in 1866, Jack first studied at the York School of Art before attending the South Kensington Schools. There he won a gold medal and in 1888 a travelling scholarship to the Academie Julian in Paris. In 1916 Jack accepted a commission in the Canadian Army to go to France and paint for the Canadian War Records: two vast canvasses of battle scenes at Ypres and Vimy now hang in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa. He was also to find royal favour: a portrait of King George V commissioned by the Royal Borough of Fulham was later bought by the monarch himself, and he subsquently painted a portrait of Queen Mary, and various interiors at Buckingham Palace. Jack closed his career in Canada, where he had emigrated in 1938, as a painter of landscape and several of his later works remain there. Paintings such as the present example, arguably a tour de force of British Impressionism, and executed on an unusually large scale for the artist, are rare to the market.


Anonymous said...

Did he also paint another version entitled 'The Toast'? I have a copy one that was in our house from about 1935, an elderly Edwardian couple at opposite ends of a long diining table, he raising his glass to his wife. It is unsigned, so far as I can see.

Hermes said...

Are you sure it is by Jack? I've looked at every collection of his but nothing like that - though artists did produce copies with differences if a painting was popular - but can't find anything I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

I Have a copy exactly the same as the one detailed on the web.
Any information would help.
Its only from memory about 16"long and about 12" wide, we know it has passed down from around 1940's 1950's

Hermes said...


I'm very sorry but I've not been at all well and can't answer any enquiries at the moment.



Kathleen said...


I just wanted to thank you for this post. Richard Jack is my great-great-grandfather and I've recently become very interested in his life and works. This was lovely to come across!

Carol L-J said...

I am the granddaughter of Richard Jack on my mother's side of the family and can confirm that this painting was indeed painted by him, and I knew that it had come up for sale. During it early career photo copies of the painting were offered in print form, given as a reward for collecting 'cigarette cards' of sections of the painting. Having collected the full picture from the various cards you sent in for free print of the painting which was the 16"x12" print. (There are still prints a few copies that come up in Antique shops.) I believe the painting was originally purchased by the Bristol Art Gallery for many years prior to it came up for sale in latest sale in September 2010. I have at least one of the original copies of the prints together with many photographs of Richard Jack's work, and also a number of original paintings covering his life's work.

Derek Mills said...

We have an early original oil by Richard Jack. If you are interested in seeing this and maybe purchasing it I would be happy to send a copy via e-mail. I am not a dealer but a private collector.

You can contact me on my husband's e-mail address:

Rae said...

Richard Jack painted The Chinese Chippendale Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace in 1926. Shortly afterward he painted portraits of King George and Queen Mary.

In 1928, a lithograph was published by Frost and Reed, Ltd, Bristol, England, and the lithography was hand-signed by Richard Jack.

I have this lithograph for sale.