Sir James Beethom Whitehead entered the diplomatic service in 1881. He served at Petrograd, Rio de Janeiro and Berlin, and was First Secretary at Tokyo, Brussels and Constantinople. He was Councillor of the Embassy in Berlin from 1903 to 1906 and His Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at Belgrade between 1906 and 1910. This portrait was painted in 1907, while Sir James held his position in Belgrade. The decoration was added later, in 1915, by Dorofield Hardy. His home was Efford Park in Lymington, Hampshire, which was purchased by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1953.
John Henry Frederick Bacon, portraitist, genre painter and illustrator, was born in London and studied at Westminster Art School. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1889 and was elected an Associate Member of the Academy in 1903. Bacon illustrated several books including ‘Celtic Myth and Legend’ (1912) and also contributed illustrations to journals and magazines. His best known paintings include ‘The Wedding Morning’ (1892, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight) and ‘The City of London Imperial Volunteers Return to London’ (1902, Guildhall Art Gallery, London). Works by Bacon can also be found in the collections of the Tate, the British Museum and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
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