George Godwin Kilburne RI RBA (1839-1924)

The painter G. G. Kilburne was born in Norfolk, but established himself in London, working under the Dalziel brothers for five years. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1863-1918, and also showed works at many other venues, especially the New Watercolour Society.

A Consultation, illustration by Kilburne.

Kilburne's subject matter was almost exclusively figural - typically 17th, 18th and 19th Century genre scenes of well-to-do young ladies, ballroom scenes, courtships, and girls at the piano, as well as outdoor hunting scenes. Much of his work is sentimental, especially in those pictures including children, but at his best his paintings match those of better-known painters such as Marcus Stone. Kilburne also showed particular aspects of Victorian social life with a detail and sincerity that is of historical value - punting, tennis, girls from a finishing school - in a similar way that the keenly observed interiors of Walter Dendy Sadler are of interest. Occasionally, Kilburne departed from his customary subjects, for example in Nubia - the Last Days of Pompeii, a fair attempt at a different sort of genre in the Alma Tadema-girl-on-marble-terrace fashion.

Examples of his work in public galleries include On the Staircase at Manchester Art Gallery, A Trysting Place at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, and watercolours including Leading the Blind at the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull. Some illustrative work is in the collections of the Russell-Cotes Museum, Bournemouth, and in the Harris Art Gallery, Preston. Abroad, an oil called After the Ball is at Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

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