Corney Grain was a barrister turned actor and sketch-writer.
According to the Bancrofts, Corney Grain was 'a master of entertaining at the piano'. He made his debut in 1865, acted at St Martin's Hall, the Polygraphic Hall, and was invited to sing at Marlborough House for the Prince and Princess of Wales. He joined the German Reed Entertainment in 1870; a fellow member of the company was Arthur Cecil (Arthur C. Blunt). For the rest of his life he performed as an entertainer in London and the provinces. He was also a writer of amusing sketches and setter to music of others' sketches. He was a friend of Charles Matthew and George Grossmith.
He may have posed for a portrait to JW in the 1880s but if so it was either not completed, or has disappeared.
Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 1997; Bancroft, Squire and Bancroft, Marie, The Bancrofts : Recollections of Sixty Years, London 1909; Williamson, David, The German Reeds and Corney Grain: Records and Reminiscences, London, 1895.