“…Themes from chivalry and romance pervade Dicksee’s work.” Jeremy Maas, Victorian Painters.
Frank Dicksee was the son and pupil of Thomas Francis Dicksee. He specialised in romantic historical scenes and in the later part of his career he concentrated on society portraits. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1876 and found success a year later with ‘Harmony’ which was brought by the Chantrey Bequest.
Paintings such as ‘The Magic Crystal’ contain elements of Watts, Burne-Jones and other Pre-Raphaelites, while ‘Reverie’ (1895) for example, depicted a social drama very much in the manner of Orchardson. Dicksee was most popular at the turn-of-the-century. In 1900 he was awarded a medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition. The year before his painting ‘The Two Crowns’ had been voted the most popular picture at the Royal Academy summer exhibition. In 1924 he was elected to president of the Royal Academy, but this was seen by many as a mere concession to his seniority as opposed
to his position in the art world. By the end of his career he was opposed to modernism of any kind and was regarded as old-fashioned by his contemporaries.