GEORGE GOODWIN KILBURNE
George Goodwin Kilburne (1839-1924) was best known for his charming historical genre paintings and his richly detailed glimpses of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century British life. A superb artist in both watercolour and oils, Kilburne’s celebrated vignettes of fashionable high society are as sought after today as they were in the artists’ lifetime.
Kilburne was born in the charming village of Hackford in Norfolk. At the age of fifteen, following his school education, Kilburne moved to London to serve an apprenticeship as a wood engraver with the highly esteemed Dalziel brothers. He quickly developed a skill for accuracy and detail and was greatly admired by his employers, remaining with the firm for a year upon completing his apprenticeship before becoming a watercolour and oil painter in his own right. Kilburne rapidly became one of the most collected and well-known artists of his generation.
Kilburne’s paintings portrayed the upper classes and fashionable female beauties in opulent late eighteenth and early nineteenth century settings. The beauty of his subjects and interiors was further heightened by Kilburne’s immaculate attention to detail. Glistening chandeliers and ornate Regency furniture play a central role within the interiors, whilst his central subject, the fashionable beauty, at home or in society, is a vision in sumptuous silk satin dresses adorned with the finest French lace. Kilburn’s unique ability to delight the viewer with dazzling details and minute, and often witty, sub plots within these compositions enliven each work as the story unfolds.
Kilburne was a member of the New Watercolour Society and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. During his career he exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and also exhibited with the Royal Society of British Artists, the New Watercolour Society, the Royal Miniature Society, the Grosvenor Gallery, the Dowdeswell Galleries, the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, the Manchester City Art Gallery, the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts and the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. Kilburne's work can be seen in many public and private galleries including the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, Manchester City Art Gallery, the Sheffield Art Gallery and the British Museum.