Edward Henry Corbould

(5 December 1815 - 18 January 1905)



Eldest son and pupil of Henry Corbould, a well-known British landscape and miniature painter, who died in 1844. The son devoted himself particularly to water-colors, becoming a member of the Institute of Painters in Water-Colors in 1837 or '38, exhibiting frequently at its gallery and at the Royal Academy since that time. He gained the gold medal of the Society of Arts in two successive seasons, while still a young man. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy, in 1837, "The Race between Atrides and Antilochus". Among his early works may be noted "The Woman taken in Adultery'' (1842), purchased by Prince Albeit and now in possession of the Queen, "The Canterbury Pilgrim", scenes from "The Faerie Queene", etc. He was at one time engaged as instructor of drawing and painting to the children of the Queen. At the Institute of Painters in Water-Colors he exhibited, in 1872, "Enid's Dream"; in 1873, "Heloise"; in 1878, "Iris". He sent to the Royal Academy in 1870, "The Marriage of Nigel Bruce and Agnes of Buchan", painted for the Queen, and "Apart from the Rest" in 1871, "Lady Godiva" in 1874.

[Artists of the Nineteenth Century and their Works, Clara Erskine Clement and Laurence Hutton, 1879.]


Born in London, he was son of Henry Corbould and grandson of Richard Corbould, both painters. He was a pupil of Henry Sass, and a student at the Royal Academy. In 1842, his water-colour of "The Woman taken in Adultery" was purchased by Albert, Prince Consort, and nine years later he was appointed instructor of historical painting to the Royal Family. He continued for twenty-one years teaching its members.

In 1834, 1835, and 1836, Corbould won gold medals of the Society of Arts, in 1834, with a water-colour of the "Fall of Phaethon", and in the last two years with models of "St. George and the Dragon" and a "Chariot Race", from Homer. His first exhibits in the Royal Academy in 1835, included a model ("Cyllarus and Hylonome"); and he submitted designs for four pieces of sculpture for Blackfriars Bridge.

Corbould was known for his water-colours, in which he produced subjects illustrating literature (mainly from Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare), history, and daily life. A few of his pictures are in oils (e.g. "The Canterbury Pilgrims", 1874). He started exhibiting at the New Water Colour Society in 1837, becoming a member in the same year. His early exhibits included "The Canterbury Pilgrims assembled at the old Tabard Inn". Many of his works were acquired by Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and his royal pupils, including an illustration of Alfred Tennyson's "Morte d'Arthur" presented by Queen Victoria to Princess Louise, and "Henry VI. Welcomed to London after his Coronation in Paris", and "The Iconoclasts of Basle", acquired by the Empress Frederick for the imperial collection in Berlin.


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Apart from the royal collections, one of the largest collections of his works was that of George Strutt of Belper. A watercolour "Lady Godiva" went to the National Gallery of New South Wales.


Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were closely involved with the education of their children and devised a comprehensive plan which included instruction in how to draw and paint. An album, full bound with red leather; on front and back are gilt floral decoration and a gilt shield in the centre with three feathers. The book plate is inside the front board: The Prince of Wales's Library. The album features 27 folios with drawings by Corbould and Prince of Wales.

In April 1852, the artist Edward Corbould was appointed ‘Instructor in Drawing and Painting in Water Colours to the Royal Children’, and he remained in this position until at least 1866. Corbould was a favourite tutor to the royal children. Corbould’s light-hearted approach won him the affection of his pupils.


Corbould exhibited in all about 250 drawings at the Royal Institute, retiring from active membership in 1898.

The Royal Academy of Arts Contributions:
Edward Henry Corbould, R.I. (1815-1905). Painter. Address: 5, Crescent Place, Burton Crescent.

1835. 417 - "Friar Tuck's cell". (Vide), Ivanhoe.

1096 - Model of "St. George and the dragon"; sculpture.

1836. 927 - "Rebecca at the stake". (Vide), Ivanhoe.

1837. 573 - "Meekely shee bowed downe to weete if life", etc.

1838. 133 - "A horse", the property of John Snepp, Esq.

1839. 1068 - "She saw a wearied man dismount", etc.

1078 - "Nay, turn not from me that dear face", etc. Address: 17, Upper Southampton St., Fitzroy Square.

1840. 576 - "The heiress".

724 - "The equestrian".

909 - "Where'er she stopt rising on tiptoe", etc.

1842. 269 - At Eglinton. "A knight there was, and that a worthy man", etc.

1845. 677 - "The ascension of Christ"; a study for an altar-piece. 'And he led them out as far as Bethany', etc. Address: Eldon Lodge, Victoria Road.

1870. 110 - "Apart from the rest".

243 - "Marriage of Sir Nigel Bruce and Agnes of Buchan in the chapel of the castle of Kildrummie, whilst besieged by the English, a.d. 1207". Exhibited by command of the Queen.

1871. 230 - "Ladie Godiva".

1872. 998 - "Pelleas and Ettarre". 'And when they reach'd Caerleon', etc.'

1874. 930 ' "The Canterbury pilgrims". 'Amorwe whan the day began to spring', etc.

Source: "The Royal Academy of Arts; a complete dictionary of contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904", Algernon Graves, F.S.A. 1905


He produced designs for book illustration in the Abbotsford edition of the Waverley Novels (Cadell, 1841–6), and in
A & C Black's edition of the same works (1852–3);
Spenser's Faerie Queene and
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (Routledge, 1853);
Martin Farquhar Tupper's Proverbial Philosophy (1854); and
Robert Aris Willmott's Poets of the Nineteenth Century (1857), and
Merrie Days of England (1858–9).


He worked for periodicals such as:
London Society, the
Churchman's Family Magazine,
Cassell's Magazine, and the
Illustrated London News.


Prints after his paintings included:
"The Canterbury Pilgrims assembled at the old Tabard Inn" (mezzotint by C. E. Wagstaff, 1843)
"Henry VI. Welcomed to London after his Coronation" (engraved by E. Webb, 1847, the original now in Berlin)
"My Chickens for Sale" (1847) (mezzotint)
"Maid of the Mill" (1849) (mezzotint)
"Valentine's Eve" (1850) (mezzotint by Samuel Bellin)
"Happy as a Queen" (1852) (mezzotint)
"The Wood Nymph" (mezzotint by W. H. Egleton, 1855)
"The Fairy Well" (mezzotint by J. E. Coombs, 1855)
"Lady Godiva" (mezzotint by J. J. Chant, 1860)
"The Queen of the Tournament" (mezzotint by T. W. Huffam)
"The Plague of London" (one of the Westminster Hall Cartoons, lithograph by Frank Howard)
"The Queen and Prince Albert" (lithograph by Roger Fenton 1854).
"Portrait of the Prince Consort" (lithograph by Richard James Lane, 1862).


Corbould married three times:
1.On 28 September 1839, to Fanny Jemima (died 1850), daughter of the engraver Charles Heath, by whom he had three daughters, one of whom, Isabel Fanny (Mrs. G. H. Heywood), has two daughters who are artists, Mrs. Eveline Corbould-Ellis and Mrs. Weatherley; A miniature portrait of Corbould by his grand-daughter, Mrs. Weatherley, is in the possession of Dr. Victor Corbould.
2.On 7 August 1851, to Anne Middleton Wilson (died 1866), by whom he had two sons, Ridley Edward Arthur Lamothe (1854–1887), and Victor Albert Louis Edward (born 1866);
3.On 15 January 1868, to Anne Melis Sanders, by whom he had one son and one daughter.


Edward Henry Corbould (1815-1905), water-colour painter, born in London on 5 December 1815, was son of Henry Corbould [q. v.], historical painter and draughtsman, and grandson of Richard Corbould [q. v.], portrait, landscape, and historical painter, and designer of book illustrations. He was a pupil of Henry Sass, and a student of the Royal Academy.

In 1834, 1835, and 1836, he won gold medals of the Society of Arts, in 1834, with a water-colour of the 'Fall of Phaethon', and in the last two years with models of 'St. George and the Dragon' (collection of Dr. Victor Corbould) and a 'Chariot Race', from Homer, (now in the possession of Mrs. G. H. Heywood). His first exhibits in the Royal Academy in 1835, included a model ('Cyllarus and Hylonome'), but he did not pursue the art of sculpture for long. It is interesting, however, to note that in 1889, when the London corporation invited various artists to submit designs for four pieces of sculpture for Blackfriars bridge (a project never carried out), he produced four drawings of colossal groups, which are still in the possession of Dr. Victor Corbould. The main work of his life was in water-colour, in which he produced a large number of subjects illustrating literature (chiefly Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare), history, and daily life. He continued to the end even in his larger subjects to paint in the careful stippled manner that is more adapted to miniature portrait and illustration; and only a small proportion of his pictures are in oil (e.g. 'The Canterbury Pilgrims', R.A., 1874, in the possession of Dr. Victor Corbould).

He started exhibiting at the New Water Colour Society (later the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours) in 1837, becoming a member of that body in the same year. One of the most important of his early exhibits at this society, 'The Canterbury Pilgrims assembled at the old Tabard Inn' (1840), is now at Norbury Park, Dorking.

In 1842, his water-colour of 'The Woman taken in Adultery' was purchased by the Prince Consort, and nine years later he was appointed instructor of historical painting to the royal family. He continued for twenty-one years teaching various members of the royal family, and many of his best works were acquired by Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and his royal pupils, e.g. an illustration of Tennyson's 'Morte d'Arthur' (now in Kensington Palace), presented by Queen Victoria to Princess Louise, and 'Henry VI. welcomed to London after his Coronation in Paris', and 'The Iconoclasts of Basle', acquired by the Empress Frederick and still in the imperial collection, Berlin. Apart from the royal collections, one of the largest collections of his works was that of George Strutt of Belper.

[The Biograph and Review, vol. iii. no. 16 (April 1880); M. H. Spielmann in the Daily Graphic, 19 Jan. 1905; Daily Chronicle, 21 Jan. 1905; A. Graves, Dictionary of Artists, (1895); Royal Academy Exhibitors; Lists of the Printsellers' Association; Gleeson White, English Illustration; The Sixties, 1897; The Brothers Dalziel, 1901; information supplied by Dr. Victor Corbould; Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement, Corbould, Edward Henry, by Arthur Mayger Hind Corfield; en.Wikipedia. Duplicated information from separate sources.]