Henry Lejeune

(12 December 1819 - 5 October 1904)


English painter of landscapes, genre, literary and biblical scenes. He became well known for his genre paintings of children. Le Jeune was born in London, the son of Anthony Le Jeune, a professional musician of Flemish origin, and the third of five children. After showing an early interest in art he was encouraged by his family to study the art collections in the British Museum.

In 1834, Le Jeune was admitted to the Royal Academy where, after winning 4 silver medals in succession, he won a gold medal in 1841, for the biblical painting "Samson Bursting his Bonds" (exhibited the following year at the British Institution). He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1840, with a work entitled "Joseph Interpreting the Dream of Pharaoh's Chief Butler".

From 1845-48, he taught at the Government School of design at Somerset House, and from 1848-64, was curator and instructor at the Royal Academy. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy (ARA) in 1863, and an honorary retired associate in 1886.

Le Jeune painted in both oils and watercolours. His works were exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1840-94, at the British Institution between 1842-63, and at other galleries. Early in his career he painted mainly biblical or literary scenes (Shakespeare or Spenser). These included such titles as:
"The Infancy of Moses" (1842)
"'Una and the Lion" (1842)
"Prospero and Miranda" (1844)
"Ruth and Boaz (1845)
"The Sermon on the Mount" (1845) (1851?)
"The Liberation of the Slaves" (1847) Purchased by Prince Albert.
"Ye Daughters of Israel, weep over Saul' (1846) (Royal Museum and Art Galleries, Feel Park, Salford.

From the 1850s, he became well known as a genre painter. In this category belong works such as:
"Little Red Riding Hood" (1863)
"The Wounded Robin" (1864)
"Early Sorrow" (1869) (The Royal Holloway College, Egham)
"Little Bo Peep" (1873 and 1881)
"Much ado about nothing" (1873)
"'My Little Model" (1875)
"Children with Toy Boat" (Manchester City Art Gallery)

Le Jeune married Dorothy Lewis (1815-1864) on 21 June 1844, and had five sons and three daughters. He lived in London all his life, dying in Hampstead in 1904. He was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery. LeJeune or Le Jeune has paintings in several art galleries in the United Kingdom including those in Wolverhampton and Liverpool. en.wikipedia


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HENRY LE JEUNE, (1819-1904), historical and genre painter, born in London on 12 Dec. 1819, was of Flemish extraction, being the third of the five children of Anthony Le Jeune. His grandfather, his father, and his brothers were professional musicians. His brothers occupied posts as organists at Farm Street, and Sardinian and Moorfields chapels. His sister gave up music for photography, at which she worked nearly all her life at Naples; Garibaldi was among her sitters.

Le Jeune himself showed pronounced musical tastes, but at an early age he evinced a desire to become an artist, and was sent to study at the British Museum. In 1834, he was admitted as a student at the Royal Academy schools; there, after obtaining four silver medals in succession, he was awarded the gold medal in 1841, for his painting of 'Samson bursting his Bounds,' which was shown at the British Institution in the following year. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1840, sending a picture of 'Joseph interpreting the Dream of Pharaoh's Chief Butler.' In 1847, the Prince Consort purchased his 'Liberation of the Slaves.'.

From 1845 to 1848, he was headmaster of the morning class at the government school of design at Somerset House, and from 1848 until 1864, curator of the painting school of the Royal Academy, an office which included the duty of giving instruction in painting. In 1863, he was elected an A.R.A., but he never attained the rank of academician. In 1886, he became an honorary retired associate. Le Jeune exhibited eighty-four pictures at the Royal Academy between 1840 and 1894, twenty-one at the British Institution between 1842 and 1863, and at other galleries.

Subsequently, he devoted himself to child subjects, and it was as a painter of children that he was mainly known. His figures are well grouped, gracefully drawn, and carefully finished. Le Jeune always lived in London, and resided for over forty years at Hampstead. In his last years deafness largely withdrew him from society. He was keenly interested in chess problems.

He married on 21 June 1844, Dorothy Lewis, daughter of James Dalton Lewis, by whom he had five sons and three daughters. Le Jeune's father and grandfather were professional musicians, and his brothers organists at various chapels. His sister, who was also musical, became a photographer.

Art Journal, 1858, 1860, 1867, 1871, 1874;
Illustrated London News, 25 July 1863 (portrait);
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, Henry Ottley; (1876);
Men of the Time, Henry Ottley, 1865;
Artists of the Nineteenth Century, Clement and Hutton;
Short History of the British School of Painting, G. H. Shepherd;
The Royal Academy and its Members, Hodgson and Eaton;
Art of Painting in the Queen's Reign, A. G. Temple;
Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon (Artists of the lexicon), Hermann Alexander Müller, Hans Wolfgang Singer;
Catalogues of Art Galleries of Manchester City, Salford, and Royal Holloway College;
Cyclopedia of Painters and Paintings, Champlin and Perkins;
Dictionary of Artists, Royal Academy and British Institution, Algernon Graves;
Athenæum, 15 Oct. 1904;
Who's Who, 1905;
The Royal Academy of Arts; a complete dictionary of contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904, Algernon Graves, (1904, 1905);
Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement, by Basil Somerset Long.



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