George Smith Armfield (or George Armfield)
(1808 - 1893)
George Armfield Smith, also known as George Smith Armfield or George Armfield, was born in Bristol in 1808. He was the son of a distinguished portrait painter, William Armfield Hobday (1771-1831), who taught him how to paint. He also had a brother, William Armfield, who painted in a similar style. Armfield was one of the finest animal painters on record. He was most noted for his oil portraits of domestic animals for which he received commissions. He painted horses, dogs and other animals. He particularly liked to paint sporting dogs such as hounds, terriers and spaniels. Towards the end of his life his eyesight failed him and he was reduced to working on small canvases with the aid of a powerful lens. Exhibited: British Institution, (1839). Royal Academy, (1840).
During the 19th century in England there was a growing love for domestic animals and many artists received commissions to portray them. Though there were hundreds of artists who painted pictures of animal during this period, only a handful dedicated their lives to this pursuit and George Armfield was one of them.
Whether it was a group of gun dogs at rest before or after the hunt, a pet King Charles Spaniel in a landscape, or terriers on the hunt - his animals are portrayed as regal and charming - characteristics that very few artists could emulate. His ability to render his subjects realistically and three-dimensionally created a great demand for his work and he was, and still is, among England’s finest animal artists.
George Armfield Smith (better known as George Armfield) was born and lived his life in London. He was an avid sportsman as well as being a prolific and popular painter of sporting subjects. Armfield exhibited between 1830 and 1839, under the name G. A. Smith but used George Armfield thereafter. He exhibited thirty two paintings at the Royal Academy between 1840 and 1862, and exhibited regularly at the British Institute and at the Suffolk Street Galleries until 1875.
His work should not be confused with that of the less accomplished artist Edward Armfield. George Armfield painted dogs, especially terriers chasing birds, cats or mice and spaniels flushing ducks. At his best his paintings are technically very fine. He uses lively brush strokes which give an immediacy to the subject matter. Exhibited : The Royal Academy 1840 to 1862, British Institute, Society of British Artists, Suffolk Street.
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George Armfield was the one of the best British animal painters the is mostly known for the painting of dogs above. During the 19th century in England people were starting to love dog paintings. The government then allowed artist's to paint pictures of animals especially dogs. George Armfield was a painter before World War One and Two started. George Armfield was actually born in Wales. His father was William Armfield who was born in 1771-1831. In 1870 his sight began to fail. He then had to get a operation. George was married thee times. In 1893 he had a pension for 20 pounds by the Royal Academy.
Born in Wales as George Armfield Smith, later he settled in London and dropped the “Smith” painting and exhibiting as George Armfield. He was an avid sportsman as well as being a prolific and popular painter of sporting subjects. George exhibited thirty two paintings at the Royal Academy between 1840 and 1862m and exhibited regularly at the British Institute and at the Suffolk Street Galleries until 1875. Armfield painted dogs, especially terriers chasing birds, cats or mice and spaniels flushing ducks. With broad paint strokes and loose handling of the brush, the painter effectively represents the different textures of fur, grasses and sky. Examples of Armfield's work readily explains why his paintings are often mistaken for those of the great Edwin Landseer.
Millington Adams Ltd/antiques | "A Difference of Opinion, 1840"
VICTORIAN ENGLAND | Dog Painting, 1840-1940, A Social History of the Dog in Art, by William Secord | William Secord Gallery
George Armfield | [dogpainting.com]
An online gallery of the work of George Armfield can be viewed in the Rehs Galleries | rehsgalleries.com]
View artist's work: George Armfield (1808-1893)