Sir Richard Wood (1806-1900) Consul-General to Tunisia 1855-79

  • About the work
    Country: Tunisia
    City: Tunis
    Place: British Embassy

    This half-length portrait by Lieron Mayer shows Sir Richard Wood at the age of seventy-one. He wears a black suit and a white shirt topped with a bow-tie. His face is lit by artificial light which contours his features, adding to the pensive mood of this painting. 

    Sir Richard Wood is mostly remembered for his missions during the age of global imperial rivalry, playing a decisive role in securing British and Ottoman imperial interests in the region. He was the son of a dragoman in the British service and grew up partly in Istanbul and in Exeter. He also became a dragoman himself and was fluent in Turkish, Greek, French and Italian. His versatile skills and knowledge got him dispatched to Syria on a number of occasions. These missions were not without obstacles: he caught smallpox in Aleppo, typhoid in Mosul, heat-stroke on the Tigris, a lance wound in the knee in Tripoli and a head injury in Kurdistan. Despite all these misfortunes, Wood emerged as one of the most powerful men in Syria and thanks to his mission, Britain gained ‘a greater amount of influence… than any other foreign power’. He also acted as consul to Damascus between 1842 and 1845 and in 1855 he took up the post of consul in Tunis.

  • About the artist
    Sándor Liezen-Mayer was born in Gyor and studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, in 1855 and in Munich in 1856. He was also a pupil of Karl Theodor von Piloty. For much of his career he was concerned with the subjects of St Elizabeth of Hungary and Margarete from Goethe’s ‘Faust’. He also painted historical scenes. In 1870, he was invited to paint a portrait of Emperor Franz Josef in Vienna. He became Director of the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart in 1880. In 1883, he returned to the Akademie in Munich to take up a teaching position. An exhibition of his work was held at the Art Hall in Budapest in 1900. Today, several of his paintings are in the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest.
  • Explore
    Wood, Sir Richard
    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Sir Richard Wood (1806-1900) Consul-General to Tunisia 1855-79
    Oil on canvas
    height: 75.50 cm, width: 60.50 cm
    Presented by the Sitter's Granddaughters, 1957
    br: LM / 1877; Frame bears label with inscription: Sir Richard Wood, CCMG / B1806 - D1900 . H.M. Agent and Consul General 1855-79 / The first to live in this house / painted by "L.M." in 1877 / Presented by his granddaughters, 1957.
    Presented by sitter's grand-daughters Cecile Lascelles and Daisy Raffo, 1957.
    GAC number