John Henry Smith (British, fl.1852-1893)
An Artist at Work
Oil-on-canvas, signed lower left and dated “1863”
Painting Size: 22.25” x 18”
Frame Size: 31.25 ” x 27.25”
This charming portrait of a young woman artist at work is a wonderful depiction of the painter and her tools. Her subject of a vase of flowers with fruit sits on a table to her right. The sturdy adjustable easel has a shelf where she has laid out her tubes of pigments. She is using a mahl stick to create a bridge across the canvas which supports her painting hand to avoid touching the surface. An artist’s apron lays across her lap to protect her skirt. Her full concentration is on the canvas in front of her which is nearing completion.
J. Henry Smith was a painter of genre, landscapes and animals, living in London, Brixton and South Lambeth who exhibited extensively from 1852-1893 at the royal Academy, the British Institution, the society of British Artists and elsewhere. Titles exhibited at the Royal Academy included “Where the Shoe Pinches” (1882) and “A Book is the Best Solitary Companion in the World” (1885).
Johnson, J. and A Greutzner. "The Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940"
Wood, Christopher. "Dictionary of British Art. Vol. IV, Victorian Painters"