George Cattermole

(10 August 1800 - 24 July 1868)

Born at Dickleburgh, near Diss, Norfolk. At the age of fourteen he began working as an architectural and topographical draughtsman; afterwards he contributed designs to be engraved in the annuals then so popular; thence he progressed into water-colour painting, becoming an associate of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1822, and a full member in 1833. In 1850 he withdrew from active connection with this society, and took to painting in oil. His most fertile period was between 1833 and 1850. At the Paris Exhibition of 1855 he received one of the five first-class gold medals awarded to British painters. He also enjoyed professional honors in Amsterdam and in Belgium. Among his leading works are 'The Murder of the Bishop of Liege', 'The Armourer' relating the 'Story of the Sword', 'The Assassination of the Regent Murray by Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh', and (in oil) 'A Terrible Secret'.

He was largely employed by publishers, illustrating the Waverley Novels and the Historical Annual of his brother Richard Cattermole (his scenes from the wars of 'Cavaliers and Roundheads' in this series are among his best engraved works), and many other volumes besides. He was a friend of Charles Dickens, and collaborated on illustrations for "The Old Curiosity Shop" and "Barnaby Rudge". Cattermole was a painter of no inconsiderable gifts, and of great facility in picturesque resource; he was defective in solidity of form and texture, and in realism or richness of colour. He excelled in rendering scenes of chivalry, of medievalism, and generally of the romantic aspects of the past.

He is buried in West Norwood Cemetery, near the tomb of John Britton, who had first employed him as a draughtsman in 1814.

Cattermole, George, water-colour painter, was bom at the village of Dickleworth, near Diss, in Norfolk, in August, 1800. At an early age his attention was directed to the delineation and study of the architectural antiquities which particularly abound in his native country; and when only sixteen years old, his name appeared as one of the illustrators of Britton's 'English Cathedrals.' These pursuits determined, as it were, the scene upon which his imagination was afterwards to work; and he soon began to people each quaint remains of feudal times with incidents of history or romantic adventure appropriate to tiiem. In 1830 be travelled into Scotland for the purpose of making sketches of localities mentioned in the writing of Scott; many of these have been published in various forms, and a large number of them are widelv known as Illustrations of 'the Waverley Novels.' But the book with which this artist's name is most closely associated as an illustrator, is the 'Historical Annual,' devoted to the history of the civil war, written by his brother the Rev. R. Cattermole, originally published in two volumes, but since (having been purchased by Mr. H. G. Bohn) reproduced in one volume at a reduced price. "The engravings in these volumes," says a writer in the Art Journal," executed under the superintendence of the late Charles Heath, manifest the power and versatility of the artist's genius, in a remarkable manner, so much so that one scarcely knows which most claims our admiration, the picturesque beauty of his architecture, the drawmg and grouping of his figures, or the antiquarian knowledge shown in the costumes and accessories." Mr. Cattermole was for more than twenty years a member of the Society of Painters in Water-colours; and during that period was a constant exhibitor. Amongst his pnncipal works may be mentioned, in 1839, 'Sir Walter Raleigh witnessing the Execution of the Earl of Essex in the Tower,' 'Old English Hospitality;' in 1840, 'the Castle Chapel,' (showing an interior with a number of figures, some of them armed for battle, in the act of devotion); in 1843 'Hamilton of Bothael Laugh prepanng to shoot the Regent, Murray in the streets of Linlithgow, in 1570, and 'After the Battle of Newbury;' in 1845, 'Benvenuto Cellini defending the Castle of St Angelo,' and 'Visit to the Monastery;' in 1846, 'The Unwelcome Return,' a magnificent forest scene, hardly to be surpassed in power by the works, in the same class, of any living artist. This was nearly the last work of size or importance to demand special notice which the artist exhibited. He contributed several comparatively small drawings in 1849 and 1860 to the Water-colour Society, and then witiidrew his name from the roll of the institution, to the great regret of all who had been accustomed to look for his works in each succeeding year. It is supposed that Mr. Cattermole adopted this course with a view of devoting himself to oil-painting, in the study of which he was engaged for several years; but we have not seen any of his works in this vehicle, the artist avoiding to exhibit them. Mr. Cattermole was awarded a first-class medal by the international jury of the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1855; and was subsequently made by special diploma, a member of the Royal Academy of Amsterdam, and of the Belgian Society of Water-colour Painters.

A biographical and critical dictionary of recent and living painters and engravers: forming a supplement to Bryan's dictionary of painters and engravers, as edited by George Stanley (1866) div