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Search >> Boughton, George Henry (1833-1905)

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Essayist, Artist, Travel Writer, Illustrator.

Born in Norwich, England as a farmer's son, Boughton emigrated to Albany, New York with his family at the age of three. At age nineteen, and without the benefit of formal training, he sold his first painting, The Wayfarer, at the American Art Union exhibition. In 1858 he exhibited Winter Twilight at the New York Academy of Design. His influences included Edward May, with whom he studied during a visit to Paris, and Édouard Frère. In 1862 two of Boughton's paintings were exhibited in the British Institution. He submitted two pieces to the Royal Academy in 1863, and over the next forty-two years Boughton exhibited eighty-seven pieces there. He made London his permanent home in 1862, married Katherine Louise Cullen on Feb. 9, 1865, became a full member of the Royal Academy in 1896, and died in 1905 of heart disease (Hardie).

Remembered as a figure and genre painter, Boughton illustrated works by American writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Washington Irving. He also wrote a narrative about his travels in Holland, the aptly titled Sketching Rambles in Holland (1885). Along with Elihu Vedder, he is mentioned by contemporaries as one of the most gifted artists of his day. An 1870 art critic suggests that Boughton was a humorist as well as a "poet-painter," and his pictures "have always had something in them--something well rendered, and something personal" (E. Benson 11). His work was also admired by Vincent Van Gogh. Boughton may have been involved in the production of the Saturday Press (G. Lathrop 832). William Winter lists him as someone who frequented Pfaff's (Old Friends 66).

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References & Biographical Resources

"A Symposium of Wood-Engravers." Harper's New Monthly Magazine. Feb. 1880: 442-53. [more about this work]
The author cites a letter written by Boughton in which he states: "The practice that one gets in drawing for drawing's sake is very valuable. Nearly all the best artists in England are or have been draughtsmen on wood. Millais was telling me the other day that those who let their practise [sic] of drawing lapse in any degree, fall off at once more or less in their painting" (444). [pages: 444]
Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, Mrs. (Lillian Woodman Aldrich). Crowding Memories. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1920. [more about this work]
In London, Mr. and Mrs. Aldrich renewed their friendship with George Boughton and his wife. Mrs. Aldrich describes Boughton as a "Royal Academician and charming artist" (231-232).

Mrs. Aldrich quotes Comyns Carr's description of Boughton: "He achieved in England a deservedly high place among his comrades--he was a man of fine taste and delicate perception both in the region of art and the broader field of literature" (232).

Prior to building a large house on Campden Hill, Mr. and Mrs. Boughton hosted a large artistic circle and their reputation continued after the building of their home. Browning was a frequent visitor, and, according to Mrs. Aldrich, "the house became a meeting-place for nearly all who were interested in art" (232). [pages: 231-235]
Benjamin, S. G. W. "Contemporary Art in England." Harper's New Monthly Magazine. Jan. 1877: 161-79. [more about this work]
Boughton's "rapid success since his return to his native land has been owing undoubtedly in part to the fact that not only are his subjects of a popular character, but the treatment also suggests the simplicity, and consequently the consummate art, of the French school, while his color is generally quiet, and, if it does not impress at first, has the quality of growing in favor" (169). [pages: 169]
Benjamin, S. G. W. "Present Tendencies of American Art." Mar. 1879: 481-97. [more about this work]
Mentions Boughton in relation to an upcoming artist named Grant. [pages: 488]
Benson, Eugene. "George Boughton." Appletons' Journal of LIterature, Science and Art. 1 Jan. 1870: 11-13. [more about this work]
A biographical profile of the painter. Includes reproductions of his work. [pages: 11-13, 12 (ill)]
Conway, M. D. "Edouard Frere, and Sympathetic Art in France." Harper's New Monthly Magazine. Jun. 1871. [more about this work]
[pages: 813]
Fawcett, Edgar. "[Before I was famous]." Brooklyn Eagle. 25 May 1884: 9. [more about this work]
The "artist George with the blonde Greek head" mentioned in the poem is probably George Henry Boughton, the one George among the Pfaffians who was an artist. [pages: 9]
Griffis, William Elliot. "George H. Boughton, the Painter of New England Puritanism." The New England Magazine. Dec. 1896: 481-502. [more about this work]
Hardie, Martin. "Boughton, George Henry." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. Olivia Fitzpatrick. 2007. [more about this work]
Johnston, William R. William and Henry Walters: The Reticent Collectors. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 1999. [more about this work]
William Walters was an avid fan of Boughton's work (66). [pages: 57, 66, 81, 82, 242, 248, 250]
Lalor, Eugene T. The Literary Bohemians of New York City in the Mid-Nineteenth Century. Ph.D. Dissertation, St. John's University, 1977. 364 p. [more about this work]
Described by Lalor as a "non-literary artist," perhaps a painter or a sculptor (3). [pages: 3]
Lathrop, George Parsons. "The Literary Movement in New York." Harper's New Monthly Magazine. 1886. 813-833. [more about this work]
A painter. Mentioned as a member of the "'Pfaff group,' which assisted in the publication of the Saturday Press. [pages: 832]
Lause, Mark A. The Antebellum Crisis and America's First Bohemians. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2009. [more about this work]
Boughton, an artist who visited Pfaff's, is noted as one of the "pioneering landscape painters" of the time (62).
[pages: 62, 114]
Leland, Charles Godfrey. Memoirs. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1893. [more about this work]
[pages: 403]
Robinson, Ralph W. George Henry Boughton (1833-1905). 1889. [more about this work]
Sladen, Douglas Brooke Wheelton, ed. Who's Who: An Annual Biographical Dictionary. London: A. & C. Black, 1897. 201. [more about this work]
The First Century of the Republic: A Review of American Progress. New York: Harper & Bros., 1876. [more about this work]
[pages: 412-413]
Wilson, James Grant and John Fiske, eds. Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume I, Aaron-Crandall. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1888. [more about this work]
Appleton locates Boughton's American popularity beginning with his return from England to New York in 1855. [pages: 328]
Winter, William. Old Friends; Being Literary Recollections of Other Days. New York: Moffat, Yard and Company, 1909. 407 p. [more about this work]
He is listed as one of the artists that came to Pfaff's (66). Boughton is also mentioned as a member of "Sol's [Eytinge] group of artistic companionship" (319). [pages: 66,319]
[Clapp, Henry Jr. and Robert W. Pearsall]. "The Fine Arts. A Reception." New York Saturday Press. 4 Feb. 1860: 2. [more about this work]
The column mentions two of Boughton's works as part of the collection of artwork on display during Thursday's reception at Dodworth Hall (2). [pages: 2]
"[Sketch of George Henry Boughton]." Harper's New Monthly Magazine. 1871. 803. [more about this work]

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