Henry Moore RA (1831-1895)

Henry Moore.

The marine painter Henry Moore was born into an artistic family - the son of the portrait painter William Moore of York and sibling of Albert Moore and three other artist brothers. After being taught in his father's studio, he studied briefly at the York School of Design and in the RA Schools (in 1853), before deciding to continue without further instruction. He became an important outdoor painter, at first more or less equally splitting his output between landscapes and seascapes, and then concentrating on the marine work. He was elected ARA rather belatedly in 1885, after his picture Catspaws off the Land was purchased for the Chantrey Collection, and RA in 1893, his Diploma picture being Summer Breeze in the Channel. Apparently he was very bitter that his talents had not achieved the official recognition they deserved much earlier in his life.

In his marine painting, Moore was supreme, aiming for a truth to nature akin to that of the Pre-Raphaelites. To achieve this, he worked out his pictures on the spot, in one case to the point of suffering from severe rheumatism after insisting on painting a Yarmouth beach scene during a protracted gale. His oeuvre ranged across all sorts of seas - smooth and calm to violent and stormy, by the shore or on the high seas. His volume of work was prodigious - some 550 paintings shown at important exhibitions, including more than a hundred at the Royal Academy.

Moore's pictures are in the collections of many of the great galleries, but are often stashed away. The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool contains his dramatic The Launch of the Lifeboat.

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