Victorian Era gentleman.

What makes him a respectable gentleman?

At first glance, he has kind, smiling eyes. His hair is neatly coiffed and his beard is clean and trimmed. Check!

Fortunately, as a boy, when he showed promise in arithmetic and drafting, he had a benefactor who took him under his wing, and provided him with an education. Check!

Because of his studies, he managed to avoid some of the more difficult jobs that many other people have in the city.

He could be a member of the Victorian middle class, perhaps an engineer. Check!

There certainly are enough big projects to keep him busy with Trafalgar Square built in the early 1840s, Big Ben Clock Tower completed in 1859, and the construction of “The Tube” at mid 19th century.  (First published in April 2018).

The Engineer
"The Engineer."  9" x 12" acrylics and acrylic ink on Canson watercolour paper.


As an engineer, his work entails more hours in the office than in the field. Here he is dressed for a meeting, possibly to give a progress report to the mayor of London.

Respectable in his generosity and thoughtfulness

His very respectable suit is bought in a local department store. Indeed, he feels fortunate that at this time, he can save some of his salary by purchasing mass produced suits made in England. You see, although he is an engineer, he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He is well aware of the poverty and despair that is found on the east side of the city.

Certainly, he has a better standard of living than his own family. His newfound prosperity is helping to educate his younger sisters and brother. Each week, this dutiful son sends money home to support his parents and siblings. Check!

With detachable white collar and cuffs, his shirt looks presentable even if he wears it several days in a row. While the shirt itself is always hidden from view, his collar and cuffs are not, and they must always be sparkling white.

This engineer has several sets of cuffs and many interchangeable collars such as wing tip, rounded, and high stand collars. His favourite though are the fold down collars.

Black pants but patterns beginning to appear

Most of his pants are black, but he is a little more daring than his colleagues, and he has started buying the new patterned pants that are sold in the stores. His pants have no zipper yet so he is quite used to the button front and the suspenders he wears each day. Belts will only become popular in the 1920s.

He has various coats, some more formal than others. Most are plain although he does own one tweed coat, a new fashion that he saw in the menswear store just around the corner from work.

Lastly, his tie (not shown in this painting) is a contrasting colour to his suit. He favours deep blue and emerald green and has invested in a few velvet bowties and some ascots for very special occasions.

Indeed, he is a very content man. He is prosperous and his future looks good.

Other vintage portraits

Over the years I have painted portraits inspired by photos I found on Pinterest or elsewhere.

I am particularly attracted to old photographs as I imagine the life women and men might have had decades if not a century or more ago. Some of these portraits remain in my collection while others have sold or were commissioned.

As usual, I have written blog posts for all art that I create. Just find the drop down menu on the right hand side of the home page on my website and under the BLOG tab you will find PORTRAITS and once you click on that, VINTAGE.

Contact me here or leave a comment below.


One breath at a time, one painting at a time!




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