Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Arthur Elsley

The Day's Catch
oil on canvas
82 x 102 cm
Private collection

Arthur John Elsley (1860-1952) was one of the most popular English artists who depicted scenes of children with their pets in playful settings in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. A large number of his paintings were inspired by sketches made on frequent cycling trips around the countryside. His works were so popular during his lifetime that much of his art was reproduced as prints and posters, and was often used in calendars, advertisements, books and magazines.

He was born in London, one of six children of a coachman and amateur artist. Around the age of 14, he contracted measles, which caused permanent damage to his eyesight. In 1876 he became a student at the Royal Academy School and submitted his first exhibit to the Academy in 1878. He then began to earn his living from art, prints and posters of children, horses, and dogs.

During the period of the First World War, he worked part-time at a munitions factory, and he only painted four works from 1915 to 1917. His eyesight continued to fail, and by 1931 it became so poor that he confined his activities to woodwork, metalwork and gardening.