Art of Myles Birket Foster

Today a chapter on one of the most popular artists of the Victorian period.  He was both illustrator and watercolourist – expert in both.  Born in 1825 , the seventh child of a brewer his talent as an artist was nurtured while in school as well as from tutors.  He joined the family bottling business and only went on to do the thing he loved -painting- when he suffered a severe accident with a broken bottle.

The Ride on the Donkey engraving by Miles Birket Foster

The Ride on the Donkey
engraving by Miles Birket Foster

At 16, #MylesBirketFoster became an apprentice #woodengraver under Ebeneezer Landells.  He quickly honed his art must have certainly been influenced by family friend Thomas Bewick (possibly the greatest wood engraver ever).  He produced work for PUNCH magazine and THE LONDON ILLUSTRATED NEWS.  He worked in collaboration with Edmund Evans and Henry Vizetelly.  He travelled widely working on travel books as well as poetry.

Engraving was not Birket Fosters chosen artistic field.  He was an illustrator, who although doing some of his own engraving, worked with engravers to produce his desired images.  In fact he created few original etchings.  The first two shown here are a couple of those etchings.  They are signed in the image with his monogram and titled in pencil (not shown) below the image but within the plate mark on heavy paper.

Going to the Well engraving by Myles Birket Foster

Going to the Well
engraving by Myles Birket Foster

Birket Foster was encouraged to follow his love of painting by his wife.  He painted rustic scenes and landscapes.  He built an elaborate house at Witley near Godalming.  His depictions of the Surrey countryside are still loved today.  His meticulously painted images of Victorian life are proof to his astonishing technical skill.  He became very ill in 1893. He was forced to sell his house along with his large collection of art.  He continued to painted until his death in 1899.

The Wood-wain engraving by Myles Birket Foster

The Wood-wain
engraving by Myles Birket Foster

A superb talent in both the engraving and painting fields.

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