Theodore Blake Wirgman 1848 - 1925

born in:
Louvain, Flemish Brabant, Flanders, Belgium

The painter and illustrator T. B. Wirgman came from a Swedish family, but grew up in London, studying at the Royal Academy Schools from the age of fifteen. He worked for a while in Paris before returning to London. Wirgman produced a series of portraits for Graphic magazine, and continued to draw and paint portraits thereafter, including producing a series of illustrations of British sculptors for Century magazine. As well as portraits, Wirgman also painted contemporary and historical genre subjects. {National Portrait Gallery website, accessed 22/02/2013]

Wirgman was of eight sons and three daughters of Ferdinand Charles Wirgman (1806–1858) and his wife, Frances Letitia, née Diggins. The family was cultured, polyglot, and transnational. His father's family was descended from a Swedish silversmith who had come to London in 1704; his grandfather Thomas Wirgman (1771–1840), who had made a fortune in business and acquired Timberham Lodge, Surrey, was a correspondent of Madame de Staël, and an enthusiastic disseminator of Kant's philosophy to English-speaking readers. His uncles Augustus Wirgman (1809–1886) and Theodore Wirgman (1809–1884) were an Anglican clergyman and an officer in the Austrian army, respectively. [Oxford DNB, accessed 22/02/2013]