George Hillyard Swinstead RBA (1860-1926)

'Sorrows and partings scarcely exist in Mr Swinstead's world. The year is mostly at the spring, the sun is in the heaven, and all is right with a world overflowing with adorable children and flowers and pedigree dogs.'

The painter G. Hillyard Swinstead was meant for a commercial career, but early on persuaded his father (himself a painter and art teacher) to let him pursue art too. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools from 1881, and exhibited his first picture at the Academy, By Appointment in the following year. Success came with his Academy picture of 1885, The First Step, a cutesy pic of a young girl with a dog on a rustic paved stairway, admiring a puppy trying to climb the first step. Many similar efforts followed, along with portraits, some over-sweet, others rather appealing. Closely allied to his feminine portraits, are some ideal portraits of long haired girls with flowers, again rather sweet but rather good, and not something these pages would disapprove of.

Swinstead also produced some Eastern works, following a 3-month stint in Egypt, some cricket pictures - he was himself a cricketer - and portraits of dogs, considered among his best works. In his later career, he concentrated on studies of coastal scenery. He lived in Hampstead, north London, and apparently wrote a book called 'How I made it in a London suburb'.

The artist at work

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