Myles Birket Foster

Today, we return to an artist whom we have previously visited but in regards to a couple of new pieces in my collection and also a change of technique from last time. #MylesBirketFoster (1825-1899) was a popular English illustrator, watercolourist, and engraver. Birket Foster was employed as an illustrator for Punch magazine and the London Illustrated News but during the 1850’s he learned painting in watercolours. Birket Foster traveled widely ; Scotland, Germany, the Alps, Italy, Venice, the Mediterranean, and the Rhine Valley. He eventually settled in Witley near Godalming, Surrey where he built his residence called ‘The Hill’. He was friends with William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, his contemporaries, and decorated his home with a number of their works.

It was after he moved to Witley that he began to paint in the style for which he is now renowned. A sentimentalised view of life in the English countryside especially Surrey. He was criticised for this idealised depiction of life but lauded for his detail and execution. The two paintings, presented here, are, I believe, early in his watercolour phase. They are monogrammed (in the regular way) and titled on the verso ‘Whitby Harbour’ and ‘Whitby from West Cliff’. They show only the beginnings of the sentimentality found in his later works and certainly show his eye for detail and hand for execution. Both pieces are 6.25″ by 10.5″ and traveled through the hands of J Pratt Art Dealer in Nottingham. Two lovely pieces by a deservedly well thought of artist.

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