(Born 1965, Bristol)
Controversial British artist and sculptor.
The history of British painting has been shaped over the centuries by influences from many different cultures. Through trade and conflict, a diverse range of art works have been brought to Britain, some of which can today be seen in galleries and museums across the UK along with paintings created by artists that they helped to inspire.
For thousands of years humans created works of art such as painted cave walls with images of animals from the hunt, which may have had religious or ritualistic meanings, such as those found in Lascaux, France and Altamira, Spain. As people began domesticating animals, cultivating crops and living in settled communities, their artistic expression developed to reflect these changes, both in subject matter and materials used.
Ancient Egyptian Painting
Artists in ancient Egypt followed strict rules regarding form and symbolism, ensuring its unchanging nature over millennia. Their art was dominated by belief in the afterlife and the paintings and sculptures used to decorate their tombs, described the lives they lived in this world, which they believed would continue in much the same way after death. An individuals importance was reflected by the size of the paintings depicting them and all parts of the body were represented flat, did not overlap and were as complete as possible to ensure they would be available in the afterlife.
Classical Greek Painting
Artists during this period were inspired, by the Greek ideal of beauty and a belief in this world being an imperfect copy of an alternative perfect reality. They created paintings of idealized men and women and depicted their Gods in such human forms. After the Persian wars, Greek art began to reflect a society less concerned with heroism and Gods and more with the amenities and pleasures of life. Following the Athenian model, art became increasingly secular and naturalistic. The Hellenistic period, from 323 BC to 150 BC, saw Greek art spread across the ancient world, becoming an important part of the foundations of European civilisation and inspiring the work of British as well as other western artists.
Roman artists depicted historical and mythological scenes expressed in mosaics and paintings. Painting was used to decorate homes, palaces, temples and civic areas and depictions of people as they really appeared were often preferred to idealized versions. Perhaps the best preserved examples of Roman painting are to be found in Pompeii, although examples have been found in locations across the lands of the former Roman Empire, including murals painted on the remains of Roman Villas in Britain.
During the Medieval period from 337 to 1453 AD, the Classical worlds depictions of human concepts such as beauty and a concern with the physical world were rejected. In its place painting became more spiritual in its subject matter, reflecting the increasing power and influence of religion. Paintings were created in service of the church and to communicate religious experiences.
The Renaissance led artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo painting their famous masterpieces during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Artists were inspired to begin creating more realistic representations of the world around them, in addition to traditional religious subjects. The education of British artists born during the eighteenth century, such as William Blake and William Turner were shaped by these developments across Europe and their work helped to lay some of the foundations for what would later become Modern Art.
Between the 1870s and 1890s, Impressionists such as Claude Monet and Paul CÈzanne created paintings which used light and colour to capture fleeting moments. Between 1905 and 1939 Cubist artists such as Pablo Picasso used abstract shapes and spaces, often reflecting the industrialized world. In Germany from the 1920s until the 1940s Bauhaus artists such as Wassily Kandinsky applied the concepts of Cubism to their creation of more functional art and design. Surrealists such as Salvador Dali explored the unconscious mind through imaginary scenes. In Britain the artist LS Lowry was inspired by the Impressionists and painted his famous depictions of the lives of working people in the north west of England.
Post Modern Painting
After the second World War Abstract Expressionism, as practised by artists such as Jackson Pollock, produced paintings of patterns of colour without images of or reference to subject matter. Pop art began in the 1950s using simplified representations of common objects and commercial goods to reflect popular culture, as seen in the work of painters such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
Your most important tools as a painter are your brushes and they are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and bristle textures, suited to different painting techniques. For example flat brushes are good for painting large areas such as a background, fan for shading and blending, round for details and line for finer details. Other commonly used painting tools include an easel used to support the canvas, an artists palette where paints can be mixed before being applied and sponges for creating textures or removing unwanted paint. A palette knife can also be used to apply, mix or remove paint and when a painting is finished, a fixative can be sprayed over it, forming a coat to seal and protect the completed picture.
The two basic materials which form a painting are the paint used, such as oil, acrylic, watercolour or pastel and the surface onto which the paint is applied, such as a canvas, plaster wall, paper or pottery. Oil paints are traditionally painted onto canvas and over the centuries were used by great artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer and Vincent van Gogh to create their masterpieces. Acrylic paints dry quickly, becoming waterproof and enabling artists to experiment with multiple layers and different textures. Pastels can be used to create paintings or drawings and are popular with many artists because they are less prone to fading and cracking than oil paintings. Watercolour paints are made from natural or synthetic pigments suspended within a water-soluble binder and are usually painted onto paper, producing finished paintings with their recognisable transparent quality.
There are a range of techniques associated with different styles of art, the type of paints you use and the surface that you apply them to. However some visual skills can help you as painter regardless of the materials that you use, such as an understanding of composition. Three basic elements to consider when looking for good composition are a balance between positive and negative space, the use of repeating shapes to bring the different parts of the picture together and using lines so that the viewers eye moves easily between the parts of the picture. You can develop and improve these skills by looking at great paintings and thinking about how these elements work together to create a good composition.
If you can afford to do so, purchasing better quality brushes can be a good investment, as they are likely to hold onto their hairs for longer than brushes costing less. To ensure that these essential tools continue to give you good service, you should also take care of your paint brushes by cleaning them with warm soapy water each time that you have finished using them. Do not allow paint to dry on the bristles, reshape the hairs of the brush after you have cleaned them and store your brushes either horizontally in a suitable dry box or in a vertical position, with the bristles pointed upwards.
Being able to draw is a useful skill for any painter, regardless of whether you intend to create work that is a realistic representation of the chosen subject or more abstract. You might think that being able to draw is an innate skill that some people are born with and others are not. However it is possible with practice to learn how to draw and it begins by really looking at the world around you and seeing what you want to draw. Try looking at your chosen subject as a collection of lines, shapes and shades of colour rather than a single object. Pick up a pencil and draw lines and curves that look to be the correct length and angle. Dont worry about making mistakes while you practice, you can always rub out lines or go over them again. With practice you will begin to find that your drawing skills improve and this will help to improve your confidence as an artist when using your paint brushes.
(Born 1965, Bristol)
Controversial British artist and sculptor.
(Born 1946 in Abertridwr, Caerphilly)
Winner of the Nettleship Prize for Figure Painting in 1967, Prendergast was thought of as one of the leading Welsh landscape painters.
(Born 1937 in Bradford, West Yorkshire)
Voted the most influential British artist of the 20th century.
(Born 1926 in Wandsworth, London)
Derek Davis developed his ceramics, coming up with several innovative techniques. In 1994 he had an eye operation which afterwards left him unable to work with the pottery kiln, which was when he then started to focus on his painting.
(Born 1918 in Llangefni, Isle of Anglesey)
Sir John Kyffin Williams painted landscapes which are now exhibited in major art collections and is considered to be the most important Welsh artist of the twentieth century.
(Born 1912 in Ledbury, Herefordshire)
A collagist, painter and writer. From 1935 on wards he was a part of the Surrealist movement.
(Born 1910 in Norwich, Norfolk)
A self-taught painter in the impressionist and post-impressionist style.
(Born 1903 in Epsom, Surrey)
John Piper painted mainly landscapes and churches but was appointed as an official war artist from 1940-1942. His first painting of bomb damage was after the air raid that destroyed Coventry Cathedral.
(Born 1903 in Acton, London)
Known particularly for his watercolours of the South Downs, he was a painter, designer, book illustrator, wood engraver and war artist.
(Born 1903 in Loanhead, Midlothian)
Know as William MacTaggart the Younger, so as not to be confused with hisgran father. He was a landscape painter who captured images of Scotland and countries around Europe.
(Born 1903 in Braintree, Essex)
A graphic artist, illustrator and painter. He was a war artist during the World War II.
(Born 1902, London)
Painter, who was part of the Surrealist Movement.
(Born 1897 in Ellesmere, Shropshire)
Tom Lovatt-Williams was an English poet and writer whose topics were nature and the railways. He wrote a novel The Gentle Years which was read by Richard Harris on the BBCs Book at Bedtime.
(Born 1895 in Croydon, Surrey)
As an illustrator, artist and author she is well known for her fantasy illustrations of fairies and flowers. Her first book was published in 1923 which was Flower Fairies of the Spring. As an artist her painting Christ Child, The Darling of the World Has Come was bought by Queen Mary. Also she designed a stained glass window for St.Edmunds Church, Pitlake.
(Born 1895 in Hackney, London)
William Roberts, British artist, was a war artist and painted groups of figures and portraits.
(Born 1894 in Denham, Buckinghamshire)
Ben Nicholson, British artist, painted landscapes and still life scenes and was known for his abstract pictures.
(Born 1892 in Edinburgh, Edinburgh)
Dorothy was an accomplished Scottish artist, painter and watercolourist. The daughter of George Whitton Johnstone.
(Born 1892 in Cookham, Berkshire)
Gilbert Spencer, British artist, painted landscapes, portraits and murals.
(Born 1891 in Spitalfields, London)
Mark Gertler, British artist, painted portraits and still life pictures.
(Born 1891 in Cookham, Berkshire)
Sir Stanley Spencer, British artist, was was known for his paintings of Biblical scenes.
(Born 1890, London)
You may be a ble to see some of his work at the Tate in London, including works like The Slave Market, Nude Study and Seater Female Nude.
(Born 1890 in Tenby, Pembrokeshire)
Her work was exhibited at The Royal Academy London and Salon dAutomne Paris. She was painted and sculpted by many artists.
(Born 1889 in Hampstead, London)
Christopher Nevinson, British artist, painted landscapes and also worked at etching and lithography.
(Born 1889, London)
Paul Nash, British artist, painted surrealist pictures, landscapes and was a war artist and book illustrator.
(Born 1887 in Stretford, Greater Manchester)
Laurence Stephen Lowry usually called L.S. Lowry, British artist, is known for his 'matchstick' paintings of urban landscapes and industrial scenes in his native Lancashire.
(Born 1885 in Rothiemurchus, Highland)
Duncan Grant, British artist, was a member of the Bloomsbury Group and as well as being a painter, he also made pottery and designed textiles and theatre sets.
(Born 1880 in Maidenhead, Berkshire)
Malcolm Drummond, British artist, was was known for his paintings of urban scenes and was a member of the Camden Town Group.
(Born 1877 in Wicken, Northamptonshire)
Frank Cowper, British artist, was known for paintings of historic and literary scenes.
(Born 1876 in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire)
Gwendolen Mary John, Welsh artist, was known for her portrait work and also modelled for sculptor Auguste Rodin.
(Born 1876 in Glasgow, Glasgow City)
He was known as a Scottish watercolour and drypoint artist and an etcher, although originally he was trained as an architect. His works were mainly landscapes, industry and architecture focusing on urban construction and demolition sites. In 1916 he was appointed as Britains first official war artist.
(Born 1876 in Rode, Somerset)
Harold Gilman, British artist, painted portraits and landscapes and was a member of the Camden Town Group.
(Born 1875 in Arnold, Nottinghamshire)
Arthur Henry Knighton-Hammond, British artist, painted industrial scenes and society portraits.
(Born 1874 in Woodstock, Oxfordshire)
Churchill was a prolific painter and writer. You can see many of his works at Chartwell in Kent, where he lived and worked for many years. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.
(Born 1873 in Maesteg, Bridgend)
Welsh artist Christopher Williams often painted large canvases, requiring venues of sufficient size to exhibit them. The subject matter he chose generally included themes of interest to him, such as Welsh heritage and identity, as in his painting Cymru’n Deffro (Wales Awakes in English).
(Born 1872 in Brighton, East Sussex)
Aubrey Beardsley, British artist, helped to develop the Art Nouveau and poster styles.
(Born 1872 in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire)
Sir William Nicholson, British artist,was known for his landscapes and portraits and also worked as a wood-engraver and illustrator.
(Born 1871 in Edinburgh, Edinburgh)
Sholto Johnstone Douglas, Scottish artist, painted portraits and landscapes.
(Born 1871 in Edinburgh, Edinburgh)
Famous for among other things one of the most expensive Scottish paintings sold auction, Still Life with Coffee Pot.
(Born 1867 in Lurgan, Armagh)
Russell was a writer, poet, artist and more. He wrote two novels, The Interpreters and The Avatars. There is a bust of Russell in Merrion Square in Dublin. There is also a plaque on 84 Merrion Square that reads, George William Russell AE 1867 – 1935 Poet Mystic Painter Co-operator worked here.
(Born 1866 in Plymouth, Devon)
Perhaps his most best known work was the portrait of Sian Owen, who was in the congregation at Capel Salem in Pentre Gwynfryn. The paint is know simply by the name of Salem.
(Born 1866 in Kensington, London)
She was an illustrator, author, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her childrens books such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit in which she featured animal characters. In her career she published over 23 books. Due to her love of The Lake District, in 1905 she bought Hill Top Farm, Near Sawrey. Her books are still very popular and continue to sell all over the world and her stories have been retold in film, animation, dance and song.
(Born 1865 in Hove, east sussex)
Robert Bevan, British artist. As well as painting, he also worked as a lithographer and draughtsman and he was a member of the Camden Town Group.
(Born 1860 in Birkenhead, Merseyside)
Philip Wilson Steer, British artist, was influential in the growth of Impressionist art in Britain.
(Born 1859 in Greenock, East Renfrewshire)
James Guthrie lived most of his life in the Sottish Borders. He was influenced by the French Realists and one of his notable works was A Hinds Daughter (1883).
(Born 1859 in Glasgow, Glasgow City)
Dugald Sutherland MacColl was a Scottish watercolour painter but was best known as an art writer and lecturer. One of his works was On The Terrace (1922).
(Born 1857 in Sibsey, Lincolnshire)
Post impressionist painter.
(Born 1855 in Bolton, Greater Manchester)
David Horatio Winder, British artist, was known for his landscapes of Britain.
(Born 1855 in Devonport, Devon)
He was a Cornish Fisherman, who became an artist after the death of his wife in 1922 when he began to paint. He was completely self taught and never had any lessons. The style of his paintings are known as naive art, where perspective is ignored and the scale of the object is based on its relative importance to the scene.
(Born 1853, London)
Sir Francis Bernard Dicksee, British artist, was was known for paintings of historic scenes and portrait work.
(Born 1852, London)
Edmund Blair Leighton, British artist, painted historical and often medieval scenes.
(Born 1849 in Glasgow, Glasgow City)
Sir David Murray was well known as a Scottish landscape painter. One of his notable works was My Love Has Gone A-Sailing which was exhibited in 1884 and purchased by the Chantrey Trustees for the Tate Gallery.
(Born 1848 in Glasgow, Glasgow City)
Robert Walker Macbeth was known as a Scottish painter etcher and watercolourist, particularly specialising in pastoral landscape.
(Born 1845 in Liverpool, Merseyside)
A prolific artist who worked with pottery, stained glass, illustration and more. He was well know as an author of childrens books. He was both a disciple and friend to William Morris.
(Born 1845, London)
Frank Holl, British artist, was known for his realistic paintings of ordinary life and helped to establish social realism.
(Born 1841 in York, North Yorkshire)
Albert Moore, British artist, was known for his paintings of female figures with classical settings. This can be seen in his works such as A Garden, Canaries, Seagulls, The Loves of the Winds and the Seasons, An Open Book, Seashells and Silver. He was one of the fourteen children of portrait painter, William Moore.
(Born 1841 in Kames, Argyll and Bute)
Hamilton Macallum was a Scottish painter. He painted the Scottish Highlands from a small yacht and his favourite subject was sunlight.
(Born 1836 in Leeds, West Yorkshire)
John Atkinson Grimshaw, British artist, was born on this day in the year 1836. He painted landscapes and city scenes.
(Born 1835 in Kintyre, Argyll and Bute)
William McTaggart, Scottish artist, was known for his landscape paintings.
(Born 1833 in Birmingham, West Midlands)
Burne-Jones was a major player in the revival of stained glass in Briton, during his time with and as a founder of Morris, Marshal, Faulkner and co.
(Born 1832 in Edinburgh, Edinburgh)
Sir William Quiller Orchardson, Scottish painter, was known for his paintings of historic and domestic scenes.
(Born 1831 in Worcester, West Midlands)
Benjamin Williams Leader, English artist, was known for his landscape paintings.
(Born 1830 in Scarborough, North Yorkshire)
Sir Frederic Leighton, English artist and sculptor, is best known for his paintings of historical and classical scenes.
(Born 1830 in Liverpool, Merseyside)
Winner of the Newdigate prize for poetry back in 1851, Alfred William Hunt was an accomplished painter in both oils and water colours.
(Born 1830 in London, London)
Wallis was a Pre-Raphaelite artist. He painted works such as, The Death of Chatterton of 1856. The model in the painting was a young George Meredith.
(Born 1829 in Southampton, Hampshire)
Sir John Everett Millais, English artist and illustrator, was a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
(Born 1829 in Bath, Somerset)
Edwin Longsden Long, English artist, painted portraits and historical scenes.
(Born 1828 in London, London)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the English poet, illustrator and painter, founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. Some of his painted works include Proserpine 1874, The Day Dream and Pia de Tolomei, all of which depict the likeness of Jane Burden, the wife of William Morris.
(Born 1826 in La Turquie Vale, Guernsey)
Denys Corbet was born at La Turquie Vale, Guernsey. He was a poet, naive painter and a school master. He mainly wrote in the Dgernesiais language which was used in Guernsey. Two examples of his poems are LTouar de Guernesey and Les Feuilles de la Foret. He is also known as a naive painter of cows and rural life.
(Born 1823 in Paisley, Glasgow City)
William Hart travelled to America with his family as a child. In New York he was an apprentice carriage painter where he decorated the panels of coaches with landscapes. He returned to Scotland to study for three years before returning back to New York where he opened a studio.
(Born 1819 in Aldfield, North Yorkshire)
William Powell Frith, English artist, is best known for his paintings of Victorian social scenes.
(Born 1817 in Guernsey, Guernsey)
Paul Jacob Naftel was a self-taught watercolour artist and was the only Guernsey born professional painter of the 19th century.
(Born 1817 in Chatham, Kent)
Dadd was a painter who is known for his representations of fairies and other supernatural subjects. One of his well known works is The Fairy Fellers Master-Stroke which he worked on between 1885-64.
(Born 1817 in Bradford, West Yorkshire)
Patrick Branwell Bronte, painter and poet, was the brother of writers Emily, Anne, and Charlotte Bronte.
(Born 1817, London)
Edward Armitage, English artist, is best known for his paintings of classical and biblical scenes.
(Born 1816 in Shoreditch, London)
William James Blacklock, English artist, is known for his paintings of Lake District landscapes.
(Born 1805 in Newington, London)
Samuel Palmer, British artist, etcher and printmaker was part of the Romantic movement and known for his pastoral landscapes.
(Born 1804, London)
John Frederick Lewis, English artist, is best known for his paintings of Oriental and Mediterranean scenes.
(Born 1803 in Canterbury, Kent)
Thomas Sidney Cooper, English artist, is best known for his landscape paintings of farming scenes.
(Born 1802 in Arnold, Nottinghamshire)
Richard Parkes Bonington, English Romantic landscape painter, is best known for his paintings of coastal scenes.
(Born 1802, London)
Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, English artist, is known for his paintings of horses and dogs and most famous for the lions in Trafalgar Square.
(Born 1790 in Birmingham, West Midlands)
He was a well known portrait painter in his own right and the father of Henry Moore and Albert Joseph Moore. He took up portrait painting in around 1810, when he was about 20 years old. He gained a good reputation and some success in London before moving to York. He worked in oils, pastels and watercolours.
(Born 1776 in East Bergholt, Suffolk)
A romantic painter, known for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, now known as Constable Country.
(Born 1767 in Maidstone, Kent)
At the age of 15 he moved to London to study art and was later admitted to the Royal Academy Schools. His work included watercolour, drawings and engravings.
(Born 1758 in Edinburgh, Edinburgh)
Nasmyth was a Scottish landscape and portrait painter. One of his best known works is the portrait of his friend and poet Robert Burns. His impressive landscapes include View of Tantallon Castle and the Bass Rock. In addition to painting he also was an engineer and was involved with the designing and building of several bridges.
(Born 1757 in Soho, London)
He was a painter, printmaker and poet but was not recognised during his lifetime. In 2002 he was placed at 38 in the BBCs poll of the 100 Greatest Britons and is now considered as highly influential in the history of the visual arts and poetry of the Romantic Age.
(Born 1756 in Stockbridge, Edinburgh)
Scottish portrait artist. Most famous for his portrait of Sir John Sinclair.
(Born 1734 in Derby, Derbyshire)
Joseph Wright was an English portrait and landscape painter. His work is significant for his use of the chiaroscuro effect, which highlights the contrast of light and dark which can be seen in his paintings of candle lit subjects. He has been celebrated as the first professional painter to demonstrate the mood of the Industrial Revolution.
(Born 1733 in Carlisle, Cumbria)
Sawrey Gilpin specialised in the painting of horses and dogs. He also was an illustrator and etcher. In 1786 his work was exhibited at the Royal Academy London and he was elected an associate of the Academy in 1795.
(Born 1727 in Sudbury, Suffolk)
A talented English portrait and landscape painter. Perhaps his best known work would be The Blue Boy. He was noted for the speed that he applied paint, working more from nature.
(Born 1726 in Dunster, Somerset)
An English artist, born in and heiress to Dunster Castle, where you can see two of her paintings (View of an Imaginary Castle with a Round Tower - View of an Imaginary Castle with Two Towers). Also at the castle, you can see four painting of Margaret.
(Born 1724 in Liverpool, Merseyside)
Stubbs was the son of a Currier and became famous for his paintings of horses.
(Born 1723 in Plympton, Devon)
Reynolds was an 18th century English portrait painter, who helped to found the Royal Academy and was there first president. He painted in the grand manner, not copying his subjects exactly as they really were but reflected their nobility. You can see a number of his portraits in the Reynolds room at Knole in Kent.
(Born 1714 in Penegoes, Powys)
The Welsh artist Richard Wilson was one of Britains earliest landscape painters.
(Born 1713 in Edinburgh, Edinburgh)
Accomplished Scottish painter. Perhaps best known for his portraits of George III in around 1762 and The Lost Portrait of Charles Edward Stuart 1745. He was also the teacher of Alexander Nasmyth.
(Born 1712 in Preston, Lancashire)
Born in 1712 he was an English portrait painter and is known for a type of portrait called a conversation piece. In 1735 his first commission was Hoghton Towers from Duxon Hill, Lancashire. This showed his interest in landscape but two years later he became established as a portrait painter having a studio in Great Queens Street London.
(Born 1697 in Smithfield, London)
Best known for his satirical and moral painting and engravings.
(Born 1682 in Carney, Aberdeenshire)
William Cairney was a Scottish portrait painter. His style of art was aimed at imitating nature and he used soft and mild colouring and lighting in his work.
(Born 1609, London)
Samuel Cooper is best kown as an English miniture painter