HARDY, THOMAS (1840-1928)
PORTRAIT BY WILLIAM STRANG (1859-1921), etching, head and shoulders, signed by Strang in the ground and in pencil below the image, framed and glazed, size of image 7 x 5 inches (18 x 12 cm), overall size 12 x 10 inches (31 x 24 cm) 
Strang made this portrait from the life after Hardy had returned to Max Gate after witnessing a fire 'and still full of excitement of the scene. This animation appears in the portrait' (Binyon). It was the frontispiece for Lionel Johnson's The Art of Thomas Hardy.
Strang, the younger son of a builder in Dunbarton, entered the Slade School of Art at the age of seventeen and studied there under Alphonse Legros. Though primarily an etcher, he was a master of mezzotint and engraving and later tried oil painting with considerable success. He produced 751 prints between 1880 and 1920 and contributed to The Yellow Book, The Dome and private presses. He also occasionally worked as a wood engraver. 'Among Strang's numerous single plates the portraits are especially good...The best of the later portraits are masterpieces of their kind.' There are 29 works by Strang in the National Portrait Gallery.
REFERENCES: 'Laurence Binyon,' revised by A.L. Goodchild, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004; Laurence Binyon, William Strang: Supplement to the Catalogue of His Etch Work 1882-1812, 1923.