MYLES BIRKET FOSTER. RWS. British (1825-1899)
' PLAYTIME '
signed with monogram lower left
watercolour image size 33cm x 45cm
With ROSBOROUGH & SONS, PORTRUSH 1957
With W.H.PATTERSON GALLERY, LONDON
Painter mainly in watercolour, of landscape and of rustic scenes in Surrey and elsewhere and people with children; illustrator and engraver.
Born in North Shields he came to London when he was five years old and apprenticed when aged about sixteen to Ebenezer Landells, a leading wood engraver who had been a pupil of Bewick. There he first cut blocks and then produced drawings of topical scenes and current events for Punch, The Illustrated London News and other magazines. He was them employed as a draughtsman under Henry Vizetelly and illustrated Longfellow's Evangeline and Rogers's Italy. In 1846 he set up on his own account, illustrating books and producing illustrations for The Illustrated London News. About 1859 he turned to painting mainly in watercolours. He was elected Associate of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1862 and from that date contributed some 400 drawings to its exhibitions. He also exhibited at the Royal Academy 1859-1881.
In 1852, 1853 and 1861 he travelled about the Continent chiefly up the Rhine, making many colour sketches and pencil studies. In 1866 he travelled abroad again and in 1868 visited Venice with W.Q. Orchardson and Fred Walker, who was a very close friend. He also made many later visits to Italy, largely on the commission from Charles Seeley to make 50 Venice drawings for £5,000. In 1863
he built a house at Witley, near Godalming, and it is for his watercolours of the Surrey countryside that he is best known today. Hardie notes; “as a painter, he worked with meticulous finish and with outstanding technical skill. At his best he showed a fine sense of composition and command of colour. Under all the rather sugary surface of sentiment and prettiness lies a hard core of sound and honest craftsmanship. We may deplore the sentiment, but we shall be narrow minded if we fail to respect the artistry”. Manuscripts relating to this artist are held at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
For more detailed information of this artist see Birket Foster RWS by H M Cundall published by A & C Black Ltd London in 1906
- Myles Birket Foster
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