Alfred Elmore, Historical Painter

(b. 1815, d. 1881)

Historical Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born on the 18th June, 1815, in a cottage at Clonakilty, County Cork, the site of which is now occupied by a convent. His father was a retired army surgeon. When he was about 12 years of age he went with his father to London and began his art career by drawing from the antique in the British Museum. In 1832 he entered the schools of the Royal Academy, and in 1834, at the age of 19, exhibited a picture in the Academy. In 1840 he exhibited "The Martyrdom of St. Thomas à Beckett," painted for Daniel O'Connell, which is now in Westland Row Church, Dublin. He spent some time abroad, and after visiting Paris, Munich, Venice, Florence and Rome, he returned to London in 1844, and the results of his studies abroad were shown in a number of important works exhibited in the Academy and the British Institution in successive years, such as "Rienzi in the Forum," and the "Origin of the Guelph and Ghibelline Quarrel" in 1845, which established his reputation as an historical painter and gained his election as an Associate of the Academy. His "Invention of the Stocking Loom," exhibited in 1847, obtained great popularity, and was engraved for the Art Union of London, and his "Controversy" was engraved in the "Art Journal," 1868, by C. H. Jeens.

In 1857 he was elected an Academician, and painted as his diploma work a subject from "The Two Gentlemen of Verona." Other pictures by him which were popular were "The Novice," 1852, engraved by T. Vernon in the "Art Journal," 1865; "The Tuileries," 1860, his best picture; "Lucrezia Borgia," 1863; "The Countess Isabelle of Croye," engraved by J. Stancliffe in "Art Journal," 1866; "Katherine and Petrucchio," 1869, now belonging to Mr. Lockett Agnew, and "After the Fall," 1873. The Preston Gallery has his "Supplication." In his historical pictures he treated his subjects literally and not ideally, and in such pictures as his "Novice" and "Origin of the Stocking-Loom," which like all his pictures are well painted and agreeably arranged, the figures and the composition are but little expressive of the subject. Elmore was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1878. He died in St. Alban's Road, Kensington, on 24th January, 1881, and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.

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