Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lionel Edwards

Lionel Edwards 11 September 1878 – 13 April 1966; was a British artist who specialized in painting horses and other aspects of British country life. He is best known for his hunting scenes but also painted pictures of horse racing, shooting and fishing. He provided illustrations for Country Life, The Sphere, The Graphic and numerous books.

The son of a doctor, Edwards grew up at Benarth, a small estate in Conway, North Wales. His father, from whom he acquired his love of fox hunting, died when he was seven. From an early age, he showed a talent for drawing horses, an artistic trait which may have come from his maternal grandmother, who was a pupil of George Romney. It seemed he was heading for an Army career until it became apparent that his talents did not lie in that direction, so his mother allowed him to study art in London, first with A.S. Cope and later at the Heatherley School of Fine Art and Frank Calderon's School of Animal Painting. He became the youngest member of the London Sketch Club at the age of nineteen. In 1905, he married Ethel Wells and the couple moved out of London to Radley, in Oxfordshire, and later to Worcestershire, before moving back to Benarth. They both were enthusiastic fox hunters: during his life, Edwards hunted with almost every pack in the country.

On the outbreak of the Great War, he volunteered as a Remount Purchasing Officer along with his contemporaries, Cecil Aldin and Sir Alfred Munnings. On being demobilized, he and his family moved to West Tytherley, near Salisbury, where he lived for the rest of his life.

His artistic output was remarkable: he wrote almost 30 books and illustrated many more, including editions of Black Beauty, Lorna Doone and The Black Arrow, in addition to numerous private commissions. He became a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art in 1926 and the Royal Institute in 1927. His favorite medium was watercolours, although he used oils more in his later years.

Many people feel his horse portraiture is some of the best of his time. Ivester-Lloyd illustrated a number of books and also on occasion made humorous illustrations. Included in his work are foxhunting and beagling watercolors, and numerous drawings of country life. Among sporting art collectors, his work has become as much sought after as his contemporaries, Lionel Edwards, Gilbert Holiday and G.D. Armour.

He worked to the end of his life, dying from a stroke at his home on 13 April, 1966.

I was unable to locate even one photo of Lionel Edwards or his wife.


Firefly said...

I have a cool old print of the 4th picture I forgot that it was by him. I jsut love it. Did you see the fox in the back left corner?

Anonymous said...

I love the little history lessons you provide, everything is so fascinating.
Stephanie F

Julie said...

Firefly - No, I can't get it to blow up big enough to see the fox!

Thanks Stephanie! These posts require more research, but I love them too!