Briton Rivière  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Briton Rivière (14 August 1840 – 1920), Irish artist, was born in London.

His father, William Rivière, was for some years drawing-master at Cheltenham College, and afterwards an art teacher at Oxford. He was educated at Cheltenham College and at Oxford, where he took his degree in 1867. For his art training he was indebted almost entirely to his father, and early in life made for himself a place of importance among the artists of his time.

His first pictures appeared at the British Institution, and in 1857 he exhibited three works at the Royal Academy, but it was not until 1863 that he became a regular contributor to the Academy exhibitions. In that year he was represented by "The Eve of the Spanish Armada", and in 1864 by a "Romeo and Juliet". Subjects of this kind did not, however, attract him long, for in 1865 he began, with a picture of a "Sleeping Deer-hound", a series of paintings of animal-subjects which later occupied him almost exclusively.

Among the most memorable of his productions are:

  • The Poachers Nurse A (1866)
  • The Empty Chair (1869)
  • Circe (1871)
  • Daniel (1872)
  • The Last of the Garrison (1875)
  • Lazarus (1877)
  • Persepolis (1878)
  • In Manus Tuas, Domine (1879)
  • The Magician's Doorway (1882)
  • Vae Victis (1885)
  • Rizpah (1886)
  • An Old-Work, Wanderer(1887)
  • Of a Fool and his Folly there is no End (1889)
  • A Mighty Hunter before the Lord (1891; untraced)
  • The King's Libation (1893)
  • Beyond Man's Footsteps (1894; Tate, London)
  • Phoebus Apollo (1895)
  • Aggravation (1896)
  • St George (1900)
  • To the Hills (1901)
  • Aphrodite (1902)

He also painted portraits, most notably of his brother in law, Sydney Thompson Dobell, the poet and breeder of deerhounds. A pencil sketch of Sydney Dobell by him is in the National Portrait Gallery. Sydney Dobell's deerhounds appeared in several of his works, notably "The Empty Chair" of 1869. A bloodhound figures in "Requiescat", "The Last of the Garrison" and "Naughty Boy or Compulsory Education" (1909), which was used by Pears Soap in the sequence of promotional pictures begun with Millais' "Bubbles". Early in his career, he made some mark as an illustrator, beginning with Punch. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1878, and R.A. in 1881, and received the degree of DCL at Oxford in 1891. He was only narrowly defeated in the election for President of the Royal Academy in 1896.

See Sir Walter Armstrong, Briton Rivière, R.A; His Life and Work, The Art Annual (1891).




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Briton Rivière" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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