- Christopher Newall
(b Manchester, Oct 19, 1832; d Abbots Langley, Herts, April 22, 1911).
English painter, designer and administrator of art education. When he left school he embarked on a business career in Manchester. In 1853 he travelled to Paris, where he became a pupil in the studio of Ary Scheffer. The semi-bohemian life that Armstrong led in Paris from 1853 to 1856, with his artist friends E. J. Poynter, T. R. Lamont (1826–98) and Whistler, is described in George Du Maurier’s novel Trilby (1894; the character Taffy is modelled on Armstrong). During the later 1850s Armstrong travelled and painted in Europe and in Algiers; after c. 1860 he settled in London.
Armstrong’s early paintings (e.g. A Street Scene in Manchester, 1861; Manchester, C.A.G.), which were exhibited at the Royal Manchester Institution, the British Institution and the Royal Academy, generally treat themes of social deprivation. In the later 1860s Armstrong joined the circle of painters associated with the emergent Aesthetic Movement. He painted bland but harmonious figurative pictures without narrative subject or contemporary references, such as ...