George John Pinwell (1842-1875)

Illustration by Pinwell, The Cottage in the Highlands.

G. J. Pinwell was one of the most highly regarded illustrators working in the important period of the 1860s. He was also a painter. Pinwell was born near High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and had to go to work early in life after the premature death of his father. His initial employment record is obscure, but he did work as a designer for an embroidery firm for a time, and took night classes at St Martin's Lane School, and then at Heatherley's art school. He was introduced to the Dalziels in 1863, and from this date contributed to various magazines, including Punch and Once a Week and especially Good Words. His work for the Dalziels included Dalziel's Arabian Nights, Dalziel's Illustrated Goldsmith (1865), and Wayside Posies (1866) among others, and also notable were his contributions to Jean Ingelow's Poems (1867) published by Longmans, and Historical and Legendary Ballads and Songs by Thornbury, published after Pinwell's untimely death.

Pinwell's illustrations may be put in the realist school, and his strengths include animals and outdoor scenes. However, he was no great draughtsman, and his drapery and architecture are unsubtle. His paintings tend to sentimental genre. His favorite model was Nelly Whelan, and she appears in several of his works. Sweet Melancholy and the feeble Well Now I Must Say Goodbye are in the collection of the Harris Art Gallery, Preston, The Old Clock is in Bradford Art Gallery, and Gilbert Becket's Troth is in the Lady Lever Gallery. In London, Visiting the Poor is in the collection of the Tate Gallery (but when was it ever exhibited?) and The Gossips is at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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