George Boughton's obituary appeared in the Times newspaper on the Saturday after his unexpected death. Not completely laudatory ("certain obvious imperfections" are noted in his work), it is nevertheless full of praise for the "delicacy of feeling" he evinced, his participation in the world of nineteenth-century art, and his generosity of character. The obituary has been transcribed and formatted for this website by Jacqueline Banerjee.

We much regret to announce that Mr. George Henry Boughton, R.A., was found dead in his studio, West-house, Campden-hill, on Thursday last, having succumbed to a sudden attack of heart disease. Till within a few days of his death he had appeared to be perfectly well; last Saturday he complained of fatigue, but in a few days he seemed to have recovered, and was again at work in his studio, where he died.

He was born near Norwich im 1886, and was the son of a farmer, who, when the boy was three years old, emigrated to America. George Boughton was brought up as an American, living in or near Albany, the political capital of the State of New York; and there, with no regular teacher, he picked up the rudiments of art, qualifying himself to exhibit some creditable pictures in New York about the year 1857. He made friends, and with their aid he went to Paris in 1860, and for two years shared to the full the life and work of the art students, French and foreign, and became friends with some older men, of whom Whistler was the chief. In 1862, instead of returning to America as he had intended, he came to England, and was so well received that ever after he made his native country his home. His early pictures, in which the influence of Frederick Walker was clearly visible, were greatly admired when they appeared on the walls of the Academy; one, in particular, Snow in Spring, was one of the successes of its year. In 1879 Boughton was elected A.R.A., and henceforth for many years he was a regular and highly successful contributor. Two classes of subjects he made his own — the New England of the days of Evangeline and Hester Prynne; and, in later years, but before the subject had become the common property of 3 score of painters, the frozen canals and quaint costumes of North Holland. To landscape he also gave much of his devotion; we remember a large Isle of Wight view that was specially remarkable, aud several Highland scenes, sometimes with anglers on the bank of a stream, sometimes with a cottage and its lamp shining faint through the twilight. In all these, as in the American pictures, there was a delicacy of sentiment and a charm of colour that gave them a singular attraction, in spite of certain obvious imperfections.

Mr. Boughton was elected B.A. in 1896. He was a useful and popular member of the body, and worked well as member of council, as a "hanger," and as a teacher in the schools. He was also lately choson (in succession to the late J. C. Horsley, R.A.) a director of the Fine Art and General Insurance Company.

Besides being an excellent painter, Mr. Boughton was socially extremely popular. In the days of his early successes his friend, Mr. Norman Shaw, built for him a delightful house on Campden-hill; and the parties given here by Mr. and Mrs. Boughton were celebrated among artistic end literary people and in the Anglo-American section of society. He was in close touch with this last group, and for years his advice was sought for by Americans in the formation of their collections. All, or nearly all, the fine pictures given to the Metropolitan Museum of New York by the late Mr. Marquand — which form one of the finest collections of Old Masters in America — were bought with his approval. Without being an expert, he was a sound judge. His personal popularity is easily explained. He was kindly, genial, humorous, a lover of a good story, the essence of hospitality, and wholly free from jealousy, malice, and uncharitable judgments. His death will be mourned, not only by his colleagues, but by a very wide circle of friends.

Bibliography

Obituary: George Boughton. The Times. Saturday, 21 January 1905. Issue 37610: 6. Times Digital Archive. We. 2 January 2022.


Created 2 January 2022