English painting was never as popular before Charles Burton Barbers came around. He had attained great success with his simple subjects. He claimed his success with the paintings of his children and their pets. He was among those who had an innate love for the Highlands.
He loved the red deer and the solitude of the mountains attracted him. He was possessed with the scenes of the storm and mist. Whenever he would receive a holiday from the picture dealers, he would sketch the subjects that he had loved with an absolute interest and delight. He could bring out the best in his subjects.
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Life of Charles Burton Barbers
Charles Burton Barbers was born in 1845 in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. He had studied at the Royal Academy in London at the age of 18. He had received a silver medal for drawing in 1864 and had exhibited there for the first time in 1864.
Barber had been regarded as one of the finest animal painters in Britain and got acclamations during his lifetime. He had even received commissions from Queen Victoria herself. He did some paintings with her grandchildren and the dogs.
He even did paintings of the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII and the pets he had. A number of the portraits that he had produced are also on display in the Royal Collection.
His paintings were even exhibited at the Royal Academy. He regularly sent pictures for the exhibition from 1866 to 1893. Barber had even been elected as a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in the year 1883.
Charles Burton Barber’s Career
As he progressed in his career, Barber soon became very popular as an animal and sporting painter. He particularly had special skills in portraying the sentimental portraits of the dogs and the children.
The work ranged from the realistic to the quick sketches. There are some critics who have commented on his works to be very sentimental, it is to be without any doubts that he had been very popular.
Charles Burton Barber Paintings
His competence in painting was one of the most important reasons for his fame. The final commission he received from Queen Victoria was in 1894 when he was asked to paint the Queen along with her grandchildren in the pony carriage. Many of the paintings that Barber had produced during his lifetime were made into prints.
They were usually made in the medium of photogravure. He had been exhibited at the Manchester Art Gallery, the Walker Art Gallery and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Many of the artworks and paintings he had created can also be found at the Lever Art Gallery of Port Sunlight.
Charles Burton Barber’s Style
Charles was not very imaginative and of course, he was not very prolific. He did not like the idea of thinking about his subject. However, he thrived in portraying animal pictures during his short life and his works can be compared to those in the animal genre. The style of his painting varied from the almost photographic kinds to the sketchy ones.
However, unlike many of the contemporaries, he did not like to anthropomorphize the animals and tended to add sentimental concepts. Queen Victoria was his chief patron and loved his works and the pictorial records of many of the favorite pets. The Adventures of Pincher is one of the famous children’s illustrations by him. He also worked in wood and even created pictures.
Works of Charles Barber
Charles became quite renowned soon after Queen Victoria commissioned him to paint her dogs in 1870. He was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1883 after he produced the great work Off to School.
The picture shows a small and young, aristocratic girl who is standing tall. St. Bernard is escorting her to school. He is holding on to the book strap with her left hand and is gently grasping the dog’s ears with the right.
Charles Burton Barber’s Biography
The size and the regal posture of the young girl give the young girl a sense of security that can be portrayed through the facial expression and the stature of the girl. The ability of the artist to capture the emotions and the facial expressions of his subjects was the reason for the fame of the artist.
He had produced many other works like Favourite Dogs in 1866, Sisters of Charity in 1871, Beauty and the Beast in 1878, Distant Relatives in 1879 and trust in 1888. These works earned him much fame and recognition.