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(b Sept 30, 1849; d London, Jan 25, 1919).

English painter, draughtsman and collector. He came from a poor family and worked for most of his youth in an engineer’s office in London. When he was in his teens he attracted the attention of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Philip Webb and William Morris and became an assistant in the studios of Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and G. F. Watts. He transferred Burne-Jones’s cartoons on to glass for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (from 1875 Morris & Co.) and executed designs for Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862) and Morris’s The Earthly Paradise (1868–70). He went to Italy to copy Old Master paintings for Ruskin, who described him as ‘a heaven-born copyist’ (examples, after Carpaccio and Botticelli, Sheffield, Ruskin Gal. Col. Guild of St George). In 1867 he began exhibiting at the Royal Academy, London, and after 1877 at the Grosvenor Gallery, London. His paintings (e.g. ...

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Alasdair A. Auld

[Noël]

(b Dunfermline, Fife, 1821; d Edinburgh, Dec 25, 1901).

Scottish painter, illustrator, sculptor and collector. From his earliest years he drew avidly, seeking inspiration from ancient history, the Bible and from tales of romance and legend. His father was a keen antiquarian, and his habit of collecting items of historical interest and artistic merit was inherited by his son who amassed a collection, which included arms and armour, now in the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. He used items from the collection in a large number of his paintings such as ‘I wonder who lived in there?’ (1867; Mrs Eva Noël Findlay priv. col.), the Fairy Raid (1867; Glasgow A.G. & Mus.), In die Malo (1881) and Oskold and the Ellé Maids (1874). After three years as head designer in one of the biggest sewn-muslin factories in Paisley, Strathclyde, Paton went to London in 1842. Although he did not take a studentship at the Royal Academy Schools, it was there that he met John Everett Millais, and they became lifelong friends. He won prizes in the Westminster Hall competitions in ...

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Dinah Birch

(b London, Feb 8, 1819; d Brantwood, Cumbria, Jan 20, 1900).

English writer, draughtsman, painter and collector. He was one of the most influential voices in the art world of the 19th century. His early writings, eloquent in their advocation of J(oseph) M(allord) W(illiam) Turner and Pre-Raphaelitism and their enthusiasm for medieval Gothic, had a major impact on contemporary views of painting and architecture. His later and more controversial works focused attention on the relation between art and politics and were bitter in their condemnation of what he saw as the mechanistic materialism of his age.

Ruskin was the only child of prosperous Scottish parents living in London: his father was a wine merchant, his mother a spirited Evangelical devoted to her husband and son. Ruskin had a sequestered but happy childhood. He became an accomplished draughtsman (taught by Copley Fielding and James Duffield Harding) and acquired, through engravings encountered in Samuel Rogers’s poem Italy (1830), an early enthusiasm for Turner’s art. He was also an eager student of natural science, particularly geology. He travelled with his parents, seeing Venice for the first time in ...

Article

Jenny Elkan

(b London, Feb 21, 1830; d Croydon, Surrey, Dec 20, 1916).

English painter, writer and collector. He first studied at F. S. Cary’s academy and in 1848 entered the Royal Academy Schools, London. He is also thought to have trained in Paris at some time in the late 1840s or early 1850s, first in Charles Gleyre’s atelier and subsequently at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He specialized in portraits of literary figures and scenes from the lives of past writers, as in Dr Johnson at Cave’s, the Publisher (1854; untraced). His first great success was the Death of Chatterton (London, Tate), which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1856. The impoverished late 18th-century poet Thomas Chatterton, who while still in his teens had poisoned himself in despair, was a romantic hero for many young and struggling artists in Wallis’s day. He depicted the poet dead in his London garret, the floor strewn with torn fragments of manuscript and, tellingly, an empty phial near his hand. The painting was universally praised, not least by John Ruskin who described it as ‘faultless and wonderful’, advising visitors to ‘examine it well, inch by inch’. Although Wallis was only loosely connected with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, his method and style in ...