GEORGE GOODWIN KILBURNE
Inscribed with title beneath the mount
Grisaille watercolour heightened with white on blue paper
Unframed, in conservation mount.
10 by 8 cm., 4 by 3 in.
(mount size 28 by 23 cm., 11 by 9 in.)
Kilburne was born in Hackford, near Reepham, Norfolk and was educated at Hawkhurst, Kent. At the age of 15 he went to London to serve a five-year apprenticeship as a wood engraver with the Dalziel brothers. He remained with the firm for a further year before leaving to take up watercolour and oil painting professionally, quickly becoming a highly successful and busy artist.
His paintings often portrayed fashionably dressed figure groups, sometimes in Regency costume. The themes included musical gatherings, social events and sporting occasions. He also designed and executed a great number of greetings and Christmas cards for the firms of Raphael Tuck & Sons and de la Rue. He contributed a large number of black and white pictures to The Graphic, The Illustrated London News and Cassell’s Magazine.
For much of his working life Kilburne lived in fashionable Hampstead, north London. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, Grosvenor Gallery and elsewhere and was a member of the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours, Royal Miniature Society, Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Works by him are in the collections of the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, Manchester City Art Gallery and Sheffield Art Gallery. His eldest son, George Goodwin Kilburne Jnr also became a very successful artist.
The present work is an illustration for Felicia Dorothea Hemans 1826 poem Casabianca. The story deals with an incident during the Battle of the Nile when the young son of a French commander stayed at his post until the ship exploded:
“The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle’s wreck
Shone round him o’er the dead. …”