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Oliver Garnett

(b Manchester, Jan 18, 1823; d Bishopstoke, Hants, Aug 12, 1891).

English industrialist, patron, collector and exhibition organizer. Having developed the London businesses of his father, William Fairbairn (1789–1874), the pioneer engineer and manufacturer of industrial machinery, he settled in Manchester in the 1850s and began collecting contemporary paintings. He is particularly associated with William Holman Hunt, whose Awakening Conscience (1853; London, Tate) Fairbairn bought from the artist in 1854, although he requested that the woman’s apparently anguished expression be repainted. Hunt was also persuaded to modify The Scapegoat (1854; Port Sunlight, Lady Lever A.G.). In 1864, Fairbairn commissioned Hunt to paint the Children’s Holiday (1864; Torre Abbey, Torbay, Devon), a group portrait of the Fairbairn family taking tea in a landscape setting. In 1873 he negotiated the sale of the Shadow of Death (1870–3; Manchester, C.A.G.) to Thos Agnew & Son’s.

Otherwise Fairbairn preferred landscapes and historical genre scenes in a precise Pre-Raphaelite style, for instance ...

Article

(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. ...