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Herbert Charles Jerome Pollitt, 1871-1942

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1871
Place of Birth: Kendal


Herbert Charles Pollitt was a Cambridge patron of the arts and a gentleman of leisure. He was the son of the newspaper proprietor Charles Politt (b. 1837) of 7 Kent Terrace, Kendal, Westmoreland.


Pollitt studied at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1889, graduating with a BA in 1892 and a MA in 1896. He failed to qualify as a doctor.

Politt was a friend of Aubrey Beardsley and collector of his work, and went under the assumed name 'Jerome'. At the London Photographic Salon of 1894 Frederick Hollyer exhibited a photograph of him in drag as 'Diane de Rougy'.

Politt collected prints and was briefly a patron of JW, owning a number of JW etchings and one drawing. In 1896 Ernest Brown of the Fine Art Society informed JW that Pollitt wanted his portrait painted. Sittings for Portrait of H. C. Pollitt y452 took place in September 1896 and the following summer. According to the Pennells, 'the painting, which was splendidly begun... in Fitzroy Street, was afterwards destroyed'. In May 1900 JW wrote to Ernest Brown, 'I am sorry to find it now, quite impossible for me to complete the portrait of Mr Politt, begun years ago'. A lithographic portrait from this 1896 period survives, Portrait Study: Mr Herbert C. Pollitt c148, and a drawing, H. C. Pollitt m1454. In 1901 Politt was living in Marylebone and was described as a 'medical servant own means'.

He exhibited his collection of Whistler etchings and lithographs at his home in 1910.


UK Census, 1881; UK Census, 1901; Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995; Spink, Nesta R., The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, gen. eds Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, Chicago, 1998; Sturgis, M., Aubrey Beardsley: A Biography, London, 1998, pp. 308-9; Upstone, Robert, 'Sado-Masochism and Synaesthesia: Aubrey Beardsley's 'Frontispiece to Chopin's Third Ballade'', Burlington Magazine, vol. 145, 2003, p. 512;, accessed 31 March 2004. Exhibition catalogue, "Mr. Pollitt's Whistler Prints", privately printed, Kendal, 1910.