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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gordon Frederick Browne
Drawing of Gordon Browne the British Illustrator in 1892
Gordon Browne in 1892
Born(1858-04-15)15 April 1858
Died27 May 1932(1932-05-27) (aged 74)
Richmond, Surrey, England
NationalityBritish
Other namesSigned illustrations GB
OccupationIllustrator and artist
Years active1875 – 1932
Known forIllustrating children's books
Notable work
The 552 illustrations and 32 full-page etchings he did for The Henry Irving Shakespear (1895)[1]

Gordon Frederick Browne RI RBA (15 April 1858 – 27 May 1932) was an English artist and a prolific illustrator of children's books in the late 19th century and early 20th century. He was a meticulous craftsman and went to a great deal of effort to ensure that his illustrations were accurate. He illustrated six or seven books a year in addition to a huge volume of magazine illustration.

Early life

He was born in Banstead, the younger son of notable book illustrator Hablot Knight Browne (who as "Phiz" illustrated books by Charles Dickens). He was privately educated and then studied art at the Heatherley School of Fine Art[2] and South Kensington Schools. At Art School he insisted only drawing from life.[3]

Work

Browne worked in watercolour and pen and ink. He was a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) and a founder member of the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA).[4] Browne was an early member of the Society of Graphic Art and showed three works at their first exhibition in 1921.

Some sources say that Browne began accepting commissions when still a student as money was in short supply at home as his father had been unwell in 1867 and was partly incapacitated by illness.[5] However, Kirkpatrick considers this unlikely as Browne was only 9 years of age in 1867, and that his earlies known illustrations only appeared in 1875.[6]

Brown's first book illustrations was for The Day After the Holidays (1875), A school story by Ascott R Hope. This inaugurated numerous commissions for books and for contributions to periodicals.[4] Among these was work for Aunt Judy's Magazine He then drew several Christmas cards and took a course in drawing on wood. James Cooper, his tutor, introduced him to Blackie's, the London publishers, for whom he began to illustrate juvenile books.[7] The first book he illustrated for Blackie was Facing Death: The Hero of the Vaughan Pit (1882) by G. A. Henty.[6]

From the 1880s, Browne was one of Britain's most prolific illustrators. Houfe says that Browne illustrated a truly amazing quantity of boy's stories, tales and novels. His total volume of work was enormous. Kirkpatrick gives the estimate that Browne produce c. 3,660 images in his work.[6] Browne also wrote himself. He exhibited his work extensively with over 200 works exhibited during his life (a few of these may have been repeated at different venues).[note 1]

Book illustration

Browne illustrated six or seven books a year.[9] His historical research for his illustrations was painstaking. He assembled a collection of armour, helmets, pistols, daggers, swords, uniforms, and even saddles. When working, he would refer to these constantly to ensure his depictions of historic dress and arms were accurate.[7]

Browne took great care that he understood the text he was illustrating. He would read the text first, and then read it again to identify the details of the scene to be illustrated.[10] Such was Browne's renown for his careful research that George Bernard Shaw, in a review of Stories of Old Renown by Ascot R. Hope said: Mr. Hope describes Guy of Warwick as unhorsed, and fighting the dragon with his sword after he has been thrown and has lost his spear. Mr. Gordon Browne's illustration shows Guy on horseback fighting with his sword. Which is right? [11]

Example of book illustration

Browne illustrated fourteen of G. A. Henty's novels, including the first seven published by Blackie and Son.[12] One of these was "Facing Death: The Hero of the Vaughan Pit: A Tale of the Coal Mines." This was first published by Blackie in 1882 with six drawings by Gordon Browne. A second version of the first edition was published in the same year, but this time with eight illustrations as shown here.[13]


Authors illustrated by Browne

The range of authors whose books were illustrates by Brown is extensive and the list, drawn from a range of sources[14][15] includes:

Example of self-illustration

Browne wrote and illustrated several books for young children using the pen name A. Nobody. The following shows an example of the simplified style he used for young children.

Magazine Illustration

Browne illustrated for many magazines. The following list is based on page 79 of Kirkpatrick,[22] the source is indicated where names have been drawn from other sources:

Example of magazine illustration

The following example of magazine illustration shows the scale of work involved in illustrating even a single serial story. The Sorceress of the Strand by L T Meade and Robert Eustace appeared as a serial in the Strand Magazine volumes 24 and 25 in 1902 – 1903. It was copiously illustrated by Browne.

Death

Browne died on 27 May 1932 at his home at 4784 Upper Richmond Road in Richmond, Surrey.[25] The cause of death was heart failure.[26] His effects totalled £426 17s 9d.[25]

Assessments of Gordon Browne

Despite his talent, Browne never achieved the critical acclaim accorded to some of his contemporaries. Enormously painstaking and highly talented, he failed to equal the fame of his father only because his work appeared too widely and in cheap editions, so that he never became associated with a single significant author.[4] Peppin and Micklethwait agree that his failure to achieve the famed of his father was due partly to him never becoming the lead illustrator for any author of note, and also because much of his vast output was published in very cheap editions. However, they concluded that on the grounds of energy, competence, reliability, and sheer volume he must be rated among the most important illustrators of his time.[10]

Doyle concludes that: Gordon Browne's work over the years was so varied and full, so skilled, and of such a consistently high standard that praise would seem invidious. He was equally at home with character-drawing, action scenes or placid landscapes. His animals were as convincing as his people and his children were realistic and vigorous.

Houfe is less complimentary, and states that: He was clearly an artist who pleased editors and in this way there is a sameness about his work which dulls it: characters look very much alike whether they are Besant's or Henty's [2] Kirkpatrick reports that James Thorp, in English Illustration: The Nineties (1935) says that: if he failed to achieve greatness it was due to the monotonous sameness of many of his illustrations, particularly in facial character...[27]

Sketchley said that: ... on the whole, the stores illustrated by Gordon Browne are adequately illustrated. and goes on to say that he illustrates more from reality than from the imagination, and that his ideas of fairyland... are no less brisk and picturesque than are his ideas of everyday and of romance. Nevertheless, she concluded that his style It is a healthy style, the ideals of beauty and of strength are never coarse, wanton or listless, the humour is friendly, and if the pathos occasionally verges on sentimentality, the writer, perhaps, rather than the artist is responsible.[28]

Dalby wrote Gordon Browne was one of the greatest illustrators of the Golden Age, both in terms of quality and quantity. His sheer prolificity, averaging six books a year for nearly half a century, may have undervalued his reputation, but there is no doubt his innumerable vivid and painstakingly accurate drawings were always successful and much liked by generations of children addicted to the perennially popular classics he illustrated. Many late Victorian writers, from Mrs Ewing to Henty and Fenn, were delighted to have their stories illustrated by this most felicitous of artists.[29]

Notes

  1. ^ Browne exhibited as follows: two works at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, five works at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, 17 works at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, five works at the London Salon, one work at the Manchester City Art Gallery, 17 works at the Royal Academy, 26 works at the Royal Society of British Artists, 132 works at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, and four works at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters.[8]

References

  1. ^ Sketchley, Rose Esther Dorothea (1903). "Some Children's-Book Illustrations". English book-illustration of to-day: appreciations of the work of living English illustrators, with lists of their books. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., ltd. pp. 162. Archived from the original on 2017-03-20. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  2. ^ a b Houfe, Simon (1978). "Browne, Gordon R. I.". Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists, 1800-1914. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club. pp. 247. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  3. ^ Peppin, Bridget; Micklethwait, Lucy (1993). "Gordon Frederick Browne (1858-1932)". Dictionary of British book illustrators : the twentieth century. London: Murray. pp. 59. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  4. ^ a b c Chris Beetles Gallery. "Gordon Browne RBA RI (1858-1932)". Chris Beetles Gallery. Archived from the original on 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  5. ^ Peppin, Bridget; Micklethwait, Lucy (1993). "Gordon Frederick Browne (1858-1932)". Dictionary of British book illustrators : the twentieth century. London: Murray. pp. 59-60. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  6. ^ a b c Kirkpatrick, Robert J. (1905-07-11). "Gordon Browne". The Men Who Drew For Boys (And Girls): 101 Forgotten Illustrators of Children's Books: 1844-1972. Robert J. Kirkpatrick. p. 78.
  7. ^ a b Doyle, Brian (1968). "The Illustrators: Gordon Browne". The Who's Who of Children's Literature. London: Hugh Evelyn Ltd. pp. 315–316.
  8. ^ Johnson, J.; Greutzner, A. (1905-06-08). The Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club. p. 81.
  9. ^ Sketchley, Rose Esther Dorothea (1903). "Some Children's-Book Illustrations". English book-illustration of to-day: appreciations of the work of living English illustrators, with lists of their books. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., ltd. pp. 67. Archived from the original on 2017-03-20. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  10. ^ a b Peppin, Bridget; Micklethwait, Lucy (1993). "Gordon Frederick Browne (1858-1932)". Dictionary of British book illustrators : the twentieth century. London: Murray. pp. 60. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  11. ^ Brian Tyson (31 January 2008). Bernard Shaw's Book Reviews. Penn State Press. p. 365. ISBN 0-271-02781-9. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  12. ^ Newbolt, Peter (1996). "Appendix IV: Illustration and Design: Notes on Artists and Designers: Browne, Gordon, R.I. 1858-1932". G.A. Henty, 1832-1902 : a bibliographical study of his British editions, with short accounts of his publishers, illustrators and designers, and notes on production methods used for his books. Brookfield, Vt.: Scholar Press. pp. 620. Retrieved 2020-04-26.
  13. ^ Newbolt, Peter (1996). "Books written by Henty: 10. Facing Death, 10.1 and 10.2". G.A. Henty, 1832-1902 : a bibliographical study of his British editions, with short accounts of his publishers, illustrators and designers, and notes on production methods used for his books. Brookfield, Vt.: Scholar Press. pp. 58-60. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
  14. ^ Peppin, Bridget; Micklethwait, Lucy (1993). "Gordon Frederick Browne (1858-1932)". Dictionary of British book illustrators : the twentieth century. London: Murray. pp. 60-61. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  15. ^ Sketchley, Rose Esther Dorothea (1903). "Some Children's-Book Illustrations". English book-illustration of to-day: appreciations of the work of living English illustrators, with lists of their books. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., ltd. pp. 161-165. Archived from the original on 2017-03-20. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  16. ^ "Author:Helen Atteridge (born 1856)". At the Circulating Library: A database of Victorian Fiction 1837-1901. 2019-12-31.
  17. ^ "Amy Le Feuvre Author Page". Curiosmith: Gospel Heritage Literature. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  18. ^ "Edwin Hodder". The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Cantgerbury Press. 2013. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  19. ^ Kirk, John Foster (1908). "Hudson, Frank". A Supplement To Allibone S Critical Dictionary Of English Literature British And American Authors Vol I. II. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. p. 865.
  20. ^ "Searching for Surname=JONES; Forename=Harry; Text=Berwick". A Cambridge Alumni Database. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  21. ^ "Chelsea Gossip". Chelsea News and General Advertiser (Friday 16 January 1914): 5. 1914-01-16.
  22. ^ Kirkpatrick, Robert J. (1905-07-11). "Gordon Browne". The Men Who Drew For Boys (And Girls): 101 Forgotten Illustrators of Children's Books: 1844-1972. Robert J. Kirkpatrick. p. 79.
  23. ^ a b c Peppin, Bridget; Micklethwait, Lucy (1993). "Gordon Frederick Browne (1858-1932)". Dictionary of British book illustrators : the twentieth century. London: Murray. pp. 61. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Kirkpatrick, Robert J. (1905-07-11). "Gordon Browne". The Men Who Drew For Boys (And Girls): 101 Forgotten Illustrators of Children's Books: 1844-1972. Robert J. Kirkpatrick. p. 81.
  25. ^ a b "Wills and Probates 1858-1996: Pages for Browne and Year of Death 1932. p489". Find a Will Service. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  26. ^ "Death of Mr G. F. Browne: Artist Son of "Phiz", the Dickesn Illustator". Western Daily Press (Tuesday 31 May 1932): 5. 1932-05-31.
  27. ^ Kirkpatrick, Robert J. (1905-07-11). "Gordon Browne". The Men Who Drew For Boys (And Girls): 101 Forgotten Illustrators of Children's Books: 1844-1972. Robert J. Kirkpatrick. p. 82.
  28. ^ Sketchley, Rose Esther Dorothea (1903). "Some Children's-Book Illustrators". English book-illustration of to-day: appreciations of the work of living English illustrators, with lists of their books. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., ltd. pp. 97-98. Archived from the original on 2017-03-20. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  29. ^ Dalby, Richard (1991). "Gordon Browne". The Golden Age of Children's Book Illustration. Edison, New Jersey: Chartwell Books Inc. p. 33.
  • Carpenter, H. and M. Prichard. 1984. The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York.
  • Dalby, Richard. 1991. The Golden Age of Children's Book Illustration, Gallery Books, New York. 0-8317-3910-X.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 January 2021, at 09:43
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