George Frederick Folingsby, Historical Painter

(b. 1830, d. 1891)

Historical Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born in the county of Wicklow in 1830, and at the age of 18 went to Canada and afterwards to New York. He was employed as a draughtsman for "Harper's Magazine," and occupied his evenings in studying drawing in the New York Academy. For some time he was pictorial editor of Cassell's American edition of the "Magazine of Art." Leaving America he travelled through Europe and in Asia Minor, Turkey and Greece, finally, in 1852, settling in Munich where he studied drawing and painting for two years. He then visited Paris, was a pupil for six months of Couture and then returned to Munich, where for five years he worked under Carl Von Piloty. In 1862 he was in Belfast and sent two pictures to the Royal Hibernian Academy: "The Relief of Derry," which was engraved, and published with a key by George Magill, Belfast, and "William of Orange receiving the Keys from the Governor of Carrickfergus." He returned to Munich and resided there for sixteen years, painting pictures of historical scenes and events which he exhibited at the principal art exhibitions. He contributed "The First Lesson" to the Royal Academy in 1869, and "Lady Jane's Victory over Bishop Gardiner" in 1871, and was awarded first class medals for historical painting in the Vienna Exhibition in 1873 and in the Philadelphia Exhibition in 1876. In 1879 he left Munich and went to Australia and settled in Melbourne. He was appointed Director of the National Gallery of Victoria in April, 1884, and held that post until his death which took place in Melbourne on 4th January, 1891. In the Melbourne Gallery are the following pictures by him: "John Bunyan in Prison," "First Meeting between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn," "Portrait of W. S. Lyster," "Portrait of Sir Charles Sladen" and "Portrait of the Hon. James Service." His portrait, painted by the Australian artist John Longstaff, is also in the Gallery.

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