John Roddam Spencer Stanhope
British artist



We do our best to use images that are open source. If you feel we have used an image of yours inappropriately please let us know and we will fix it.


Our writing can be punchy but we do our level best to ensure the material is accurate. If you believe we have made a mistake, please let us know.


If you are planning to see an artwork, please keep in mind that while the art we cover is held in permanent collections, pieces are sometimes removed from display for renovation or traveling exhibitions.

John Roddam Spencer Stanhope
British artist
Be the first to vote…

Birth Date

January 20, 1829

Death Date

August 02, 1908

cschuster's picture

Sr. Contributor

John Roddam Spencer Stanhope has four names, but one unique style.

Johnny was born into a large well-to-do landed family. While there were too many kids in the Spencer Stanhope clan to mean John Roddam would get any real inheritance upon reaching adulthood, the parents had an idea on how to provide for little John: Educate the hell out of the rugrat. So off to the best schools for Jack R. In Rugby, then Christchurch at Oxford. Truly, there couldn't be anything other than a bright future as a nice businessman. Maybe, dare they hope, as a leading barrister! He was even a rising star in the West Yorkshire militia, eventually reaching the rank of captain. So, war! War for their son. Huzzah!

But the joy of such promise was cast asunder when John Roddam revealed he would be a painter. The parental units decried his effort, but no matter. Trading his blunderbuss and powdered wig for pigment, John Roddam found an easy welcome by his colleagues. He even showed in the Royal Academy by age 30. Sure, others got there quicker, but he started down the art path later. He found inspiration with the Pre-Raphaelites, who tried to bring back a colorful classical style predating the proliferation of Raphael upon the art world. Spencer Stanhope, in particular, took this as an opportunity to bring back the ivory skinned nudes of Botticelli

The old masters were a big draw on England after the Industrial Revolution and through Victorian times. The idea that the world could be fanciful, colorful and full of gods and myths, was really enticing to a crowd that had to deal with the early days of toxic runoff and abuses of labor rights en masse. The people wanted pretty pictures, and the Pre-Raphaelites brought that with panache.

Florence was a big draw on J.R. Spencer Stanhope, and he used his industrial revolution asthma as an excuse to move to the Tuscan countryside. Artist friends and family members abused the "you've got a couch to sleep on" privileges extended their way. As such, Spencer Stanhope's Tuscan escape became a Florentine adventure for curious Brits to see the Old Masters up-close and in technicolor. Thus furthering the steeping together of both cultures in the same teapot.

Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about John Roddam Spencer Stanhope

John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (20 January 1829 — 2 August 1908) is an English artist associated with Edward Burne-Jones and George Frederic Watts and often regarded as a second-wave pre-Raphaelite. His work is also studied within the context of Aestheticism and British Symbolism. As a painter, Stanhope worked in oil, watercolor, fresco, and mixed media. His subject matter was mythological, allegorical, biblical, and contemporary. Stanhope was born in Yorkshire, England, and died in Florence, Italy. He was the uncle and teacher of the painter Evelyn De Morgan.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about John Roddam Spencer Stanhope.