This portrait of King Edward VII appears to be closely related to the better known painting of the King, executed by the official Royal Portrait Painter, Luke Fildes. In Fildes’ version Edward VII faces the viewer with a commanding stance. He holds his staff vertically in his right hand and his left hand rests on his hip. To his right his crown rests on a pillow on an ornate and heavily gilded table. Mordecai’s portrait is a more informal version of a similar pose: the setting is considerably less grand and the King is looking away from the viewer in a less challenging pose, as though consumed by his own thoughts. In this distracted state he has allowed his staff to lower and it rests gently by the crown.
Joseph Mordecai, portrait and landscape painter, was the son of a merchant, born in London. He studied at Heatherley’s and at the Royal Academy Schools, where he won a medal. He also exhibited works at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, the Royal Academy and Royal Institute of Oil Painters in London, the Royal Cumbrian Academy and the Paris Salon. Today, works by Mordecai can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery and the Guildhall Art Gallery in London and at Leeds Art Gallery.
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