(16 May 1846 - 28 September 1896)
Victorian illustrator, caricaturist and genre painter. He is noted for his work on the novels of Charles Dickens published between 1871 and 1879, by Chapman and Hall.
Barnard was the son of a silversmith. He studied art under Leon Bonnat in Paris, worked in London and at Cullercoats on the Northumberland coast. His work was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art and he worked as an illustrator for Punch, The Illustrated London News and Harper's Weekly. In 1870 Barnard married Alice Faraday, a niece of Michael Faraday. In the 1880s Fred and his wife Alice joined a colony of artists at Broadway in the Cotswolds.
Barnard undertook an enormous task when he was commissioned in 1871, by Chapman and Hall to illustrate nine volumes of the Household Edition of Dickens's Works. Included would be Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, Sketches by Boz, Nicholas Nickleby, Barnaby Rudge, Dombey and Son, and Martin Chuzzlewit. He followed in the footsteps of the respected Hablot Knight Browne ("Phiz") who had worked with Dickens himself. For his prodigious output of some 450 illustrations over an eight-year period, Barnard could lay just claim to the title of "The Charles Dickens among black-and-white artists". Frederick Barnard brought an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Dickens novels to bear on his work.
A young man when he started on his mammoth task, Barnard decided that he would concentrate on scenes other than those that Browne and Dickens had chosen to portray. Whereas 'Phiz' was inclined to create dramatic group scenes for his prints, Barnard was more interested in showing the relationships between pairs of characters. While Phiz had to produce illustrations for the monthly serials as Dickens wrote them, Barnard had the advantage of being able to read the complete work repeatedly before starting on his drawings. At the same time Barnard had to seamlessly blend the characters as visualised by 'Phiz' with his own style, not daring to deviate too much from their established appearance.
By the end of the nineteenth century, Barnard, somewhat like Luke Fildes, had acquired an enviable reputation as a portraitist to the aristocracy and the Royal Family.
After the death of his son Geoffrey in 1891, Fred Barnard went into a decline. Although his work was unaffected, his relationship with Alice suffered and at age forty-nine his bedclothes caught fire from the pipe he was smoking, while under the influence of a drug which was probably laudanum. He died of suffocation and his body was badly charred.
Frederick was married to Alice Faraday (1847–1952) on the Isle of Wight on 11 August 1870. They had three children:
John Singer Sargent had become very close to the Barnard family by the time of Frederick's death. Barnard's daughters Dorothy and Polly served as the models for Sargent's famous painting of 1885-86, Carnation, Lily, Rose. He would in later years take the Barnard girls along on his painting trips to the south of Europe. In Sargent's will drawn up in 1918, he left £5 000 to Alice Barnard.
View painter's art: Frederick Barnard (1846-1896)