George Harcourt was born in Dunbarton, Scotland, and studied art in that town, decorating first-class saloons for ships built by Denny Brothers Shipbuilders. At the age of 20 he went to the Herkomer School of Art, Bushey, and subsequently became an assistant teacher there. His first picture exhibited at the Royal Academy was At the Window (1893), and the following year he exhibited a Psyche which in its monumental treatment is reminiscent of the work of Watts. Later Pre-Raphaelite style pictures followed, most notably The Leperís Wife, in which the dutiful wife stands ready to embrace the ashamed, shrinking-away cowled husband. Less successful is Too Late (1898), with a man unhappily arrived to find the corpse of his loved one being born away, and Forgiven (1899), both of which are overly theatrical. Others of his pictures are simple genre, for example Thought Reading of 1895, showing a parlour game.
In 1919 Harcourt became ARA, and he became RA in 1926. He was also well-known abroad, winning medals at the Paris Salons and the Amsterdam International Exhibition.
Harcourt's picture The Birthday (1910) is in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight.
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