George Henry Boughton RA (1834-1905)

G. H. Boughton.

The painter G. H. Boughton was born near Norwich in England - contemporary literature tends to quote 1834 as his year of birth, while some modern and authoritative texts say 1833 - and as an infant was taken to America, where he lived mainly in Albany, New York. There, aged 19 he sold his first work to the American Art Union, and used the proceeds to visit London. He then returned to America for two years, then studied in Paris, and then finally settled in London at the beginning of the 1860s.

Boughton exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, other British venues, the National Academy in New York, and various international exhibitions. He became ARA in 1879, and RA in 1896, and was also elected to be a Member of the National Academy of Design in America in 1871.

Boughton specialised in figures in landscapes - typically peasants at work, nice girls standing around doing not much, and from 1881, some pictures of Dutch subjects. He also chose some historical subjects. He much favoured depicting women rather than men, and tended to the decorative, and sometimes rather too much to the sentimental.

As well as painting, Boughton also made some considerable number of book illustrations, including for a Sketching Rambles in Holland together with his American-born friend E. A. Abbey, and a Rip van Winkle.

Boughton's work is hard to find on the walls of the galleries. An example of his Dutch work (Weeding the Pavement) is part of Henry Tate's original collection, but rarely comes out of hiding.

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