Frederick William Elwell

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Frederick William Elwell RA (Beverley 29 June 1870 – 3 January 1958) was an English painter in oils of portraits, interiors, and figurative subjects. He exhibited at the Paris Salon and the Royal Academy, where he became a member in 1938, and painted a portrait of King George V in 1932.[1]


Frederick Elwell was born in Beverley, Yorkshire, the son of wood carver James Edward Elwell.[2] He studied at the Lincoln School of Art, then the Royal Academy in Antwerp and the Académie Julien in Paris.[3]

He first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1894 and at the Royal Academy in 1895.[1]

He was elected to the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1931, and in 1938, he was elected as a member of the Royal Academy.[3][4] He was also a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters.[2]

Much of his work, practised in a vigorous and realistic style, expressed his interest in recording Yorkshire life.[1] The Times, in its review of the Royal Academy exhibition of 1936, favourably described his painting, The Lying-in-State, Westminster Hall (1936), as successfully conveying the emotions felt by those who had been present at the lying-in-state of the late King George V.[5] Some 22 years later, the same newspaper described his work as ‘persuasive’ rather than ‘arresting’, and him as ‘pre-eminently a painter of domesticity’.[6]

Amongst the purchasers of his works were the Chantrey Bequest, the City of Hull, and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.[2]

Personal life[edit]

He lived for a short time in London, and then returned to Beverley in 1903, where in 1914 he married Mary Dawson Bishop (1874–1952), a painter of landscapes and interiors.[4] He was made a freeman of Beverley, where he composed many of his works.[1] As a pastime, he enjoyed gardening.[2]

Selected paintings[edit]

The Last PurchaseThe Beverley Arms Kitchen (1919) • The Old Library, Castle Ashby (1927) • The Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne in their Drawing-room at Glamis (1932) • Portrait of King George V (1932) • Man with a Pint (1933) • The Lying-in-State, Westminster Hall (1936)


  1. ^ a b c d Wood, Christopher. Dictionary of British Art, Volume IV: Victorian Painters: I. The Text, (Antique Collectors’ Club, Woodbridge, 1995), p. 159
  2. ^ a b c d Dolman, Bernard, (ed.). A Dictionary of Contemporary British Artists, 1929, (Antique Collectors’ Club, Woodbridge, 1981 (reprinted)), p. 142
  3. ^ a b Waters, Grant M.. Dictionary of British Artists, Working 1900-1950, (Eastbourne Fine Art, Eastbourne, 1975), p. 105
  4. ^ a b Spalding, Frances. Dictionary of British Art, Volume VI: 20th Century Painters and Sculptors, (Antique Collectors’ Club, Woodbridge, 1990), pp. 158-59
  5. ^ ‘Royal Academy, The Benediction of China, First Notice’, The Times, 2 May 1936, p. 15
  6. ^ ‘Obituary: Mr. F. W. Elwell, A Painter of Domesticity’, The Times, 4 January 1958, p. 11

External links[edit]