Henry John Johnson

(10 April 1826 - 31 December 1884)

English landscape and water colour painter, was born in Birmingham, where he studied under Samuel Lines. He was then in London as a studio pupil of William James Müller. With Müller he made an extended visit in 1843, to Lycia, where Charles Fellows was carrying out an excavation. The watercolours of Turkey that Müller painted during this period were an important influence on him.

Johnson travelled in southern Europe, northern Africa and Asia Minor. He painted oil - and watercolour pictures (ruins of Sardis, the Acropolis in Athens, Temple of Athena in Aegina). In 1844, he was making one of a number of visits to Betws-y-coed in Wales - this time with David Cox of the Birmingham School who was known for painting landscapes. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1845, and at other times in the next 35 years. Johnson has watercolours in the Victoria & Albert Museum as well as paintings in collections in Bath, Sheffield and Birmingham. At the end of his life he was living at Loudon Street in London when he left a widow and a daughter.


JOHNSON, HARRY JOHN (1826–1884), water-colour painter, was born at Birmingham 10 April 1826. As a boy he went with Sir Charles Fellowes [q. v.] to Lycia in 1840. After some lessons from Samuel Lines [q. v.], he settled in 1843, in London, began water-colour painting, and was one of the original students at the Clipstone Street academy. He also studied under William James Müller [q. v.] He was a friend of his fellow-townsman, David Cox the elder [q. v.], and accompanied him on his first visit to Bettws-y-Coed and on other sketching expeditions in North Wales; he does not appear, however, to have been Cox's pupil. Johnson was elected an associate of the Institute of Painters in Water-colours in 1868, and a full member in 1870. He was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy, where his pictures were much admired; his sketches, however, have more merit than his completed works. He was popular among his brother artists, but suffered for many years from increasing deafness. He died 31 Dec. 1884, leaving a wife and one daughter. There are fair examples of Johnson's art in the South Kensington Museum and in the print room at the British Museum. A good example of his work, ‘A Stone Cross on Dartmoor,’ was at the Manchester Exhibition in 1887. Some of his drawings have been engraved.

[Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers, ed. Graves; information from Mr. Charles Redclyffe; Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 30, by Lionel Henry Cust ‎ Johnson.

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