Frank Feller

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Frank Feller
Obituary photo of Frank Feller
Obituary Photograph of Frank Feller. The Sphere, 21 March 1908, p. 238.
Born(1848-10-28)28 October 1848 (2021-09-26UTC03:14:22)
Died6 March 1908(1908-03-06) (aged 59)
NationalityNaturalised British citizen of Swiss origin
Other namesSigned his work either Frank Feller in caps, or with his monogram Feller's Monogram
OccupationPainter and illustrator
Years active1870 – 1908
Known forPostcard painting and military pictures
Notable work
Last Eleven at Maidan

Frank Feller (1848–1908[1]) was a Swiss artist who settled in England and made a career as an illustrator and painter. He was particularly well known as a painter of military scenes and as a painter of postcards.

Early life[edit]

Feller was born on 28 October 1848 in Bümpliz-Oberbottigen,[2] a district of the city of Bern, Switzerland. He trained in Geneva, Munich, Paris, and London.[3]

Settling in England[edit]

By 1871 Feller was a boarder at 6 Euston Grove, St Pancras, London with the profession of Artist. Ten years later, in 1881, he was now a naturalised British subject. He was lodging at 9 Rowland Street, St. Pancras, London.

Marriage and Family[edit]

Feller married Christine Heuser[note 1] (Q2 1863 – 15 June 1930),[5] [6] on 19 December 1882 at All Saints' Church in Wandsworth, London.[7] Christine had been born in St. George in the East. Her father, Balthazar Heuser (c. 1832 – 8 June 1887),[8] ran a Public House here, the Bee-Hive at 71 Christian Street, Whitechapel, London. Her father was a German immigrant who became a naturalised British citizen in 20 April 1874.[4]

The couple had eight children:

  • Victor Maximilian Feller (26 February 1886 – 1969),[9][10] became an engineer, married Nellie Lillian Kentish (c. 1882 – 11 September 1971),[11] emigrated to Quebec, Canada in c. 1905,[note 2] and had at least three children.
  • Elizabeth Louise Marie Feller (26 Feb 1889 – ), married Fritz Georg Rauschenback (c.1886  – ), a German bank clerk working in London, in Hackney, London, in the first quarter of 1912.[12] The couple remained in London until 1914, but it is not known how they were affected by the outbreak of the First World War.
  • Margarite Alexandra Christina Feller (21 December 1890 – 23 May 1955),[13][14] who married Charles Chitty Sears (5 February 1878 – 1931), a metal merchant's clerk, at the Parish Church in Romford, on 1 September 1914.[15]
  • Frank Charles Feller (Q4 1892 – )
  • Gordon Montague Feller (14 June 1897 – 1 June 1971),[16] served with the Royal Engineers in the First World War,[17] arrived as an emigrant in Canada on 30 October 1920,[18] and immediately joined Canadian Explosives Ltd, a DuPont Company, as a maintenance technician.[17] He married Florence Alberta Tobin (26 October 1896 – 17 December 1971),[16][19] a US Citizen with a Canadian father in 1924. He was transferred first to the Arlington Company, in New Jersey, the forerunner of the DuPont's plastics department, and later to DuPont's experimental station in Delaware, where he ended his career as a draftsman after nearly forty years with the company.[17]
  • Robert Rudolf Balthasar Feller[note 3] (20 December 1899 – 23 December 1958),[20][21] served in the Royal Air Force in the First World War, Married Mary L. Rogers in Hambledon, Surrey, England in the first quarter of 1932,[22] and was recorded as an off-licence manager in the 1939 register.[20] His youngest sister Louisa was his executrix.[21]
  • Louis Sigried Feller (17 October 1902 – ), a master tailor,[23] shared housing with his sister Christina throughout the 1930s. Served as his mother's executor.
  • Christina Louisa Feller (14 June 1908 – ),[23] a book-keeper and shorthand-typist, was born after the death of her father. Executrix for her brother Robert Rudolf in 1958 – 1959. The electoral registers show her sharing different houses with her brother Louis Sigfried during the 1930s.

By 1891 Feller was living at Hazeldene, Knight's Park, Kingston-on-Thames, and described himself as an Artist: Military Painter. He had moved again by 1895, this time to 13 Fitzroy Street. He again moved to 3 Charleville Road, Fulham, London by 1901. He and Christina now had six children. Christina was now operating a millinery and employing others in her enterprise.

Feller's body of work[edit]

Feller's work can be divided up into a number of categories:

  • Magazine illustration
  • Military paintings
  • Book illustration
  • Postcards

These categories are not clearly defined and even overlap. Thus many of the magazines illustration and the postcards show military scenes. Book illustration and magazine illustration are not that far apart. However, it is still a useful scheme for looking closely at his body of work.

Magazine illustration[edit]

Feller was a contribution to many magazines including:

Example of magazine illustration[edit]

The July 1894 edition of The Strand Magazine contained an article called Marksmanship by Gilber Guerdon.[39] The eleven page article had twenty illustrations, ten of which are shown here.[note 6] The magazine used good quality paper, so there was no signs of the problems that plagued some of Feller's book illustrations for G. A. Henty, even though the illustrations were wash drawings rather than just pen and ink. Feller's hologram is used to sign the illustration of William Tell, where on the top half is visible, and on the skirts of the woman running the Coconut Shy, where it is clearly visible. The other illustrations bear his name in full.

Military paintings[edit]

Painting and drawing military scenes was one of the mainstays of Fellers's work, and The Sphere captioned his photograph The Military Artist in its coverage of his death.[40] In its obituary,[41] The Boy's Own Paper stated that he would be most remembered for:

  • The Midnight Charge of Kassassin from the Anglo-Egyptian War of July to September 1882.
  • The Last Eleven at Maiwand from the Second Anglo-Afghan War of 1878 – 1880.
  • The Last Grip which shows a British officer, revolver in hand, holding the hand of a dying comrade who is lying on his dead horse in the desert, as three mounted Arabs rush towards him. It appeared as colour reproduction in the 1894 Christmas Number of Black and White.[42]
  • A Stampede, based on an incident in the Second Anglo-Boer War
  • Custer's Last Charge, from the Battle of the Little Bighorn 25–26 June 1876.
  • The Old Flag, an imaginary incident in the Second Anglo-Boer War on which Lord Roberts, accompanied by all the Generals, received the plaudits of a representative detachment of the British Army."[43]
  • No Surrender, was not a painting that the Boy's Own Paper listed, but it is the only one of his painting currently in public collections in the UK.[44] This shows the aftermath of the Battle of Magersfontein (11 December 1899) in the Second Anglo-Boer War where the Highland Brigade was order to attack a Boer position without any worthwhile prior reconnaissance.
The Last Eleven at Maiwand by Frank Feller

In 1882 Feller completed what is probably his most famous work, The Last Eleven at Maiwand. It depicted the last eleven men from the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot with their regimental mascot, "Bobby", making a last stand as Afghan horseman approach.[note 7] The original painting has disappeared, [note 8] but is known from the print published by Henry Graves in April 1884. The painting was unusual in that it was a watercolour of seven feet (over two metres) in length.[47] The painting received a lot of favourable critical attention:

  • . . . executed with all the vigour and realism so necessary in a battle-picture. – The Daily News[48]
  • . . . has evidently special special capacity for dealing with battle scenes, as well as great skill with his pencil. – Hampshire Advertiser[49]
  • Never was any artist more worthy of recognition than he . . . – Perthshire Constitutional[50]
  • The figures . . . are well drawn na effectively grouped. They are life-like in action . . . – The Morning Post [47]

However Beckett considers the painting to be less skilled than Richard Caton Woodville's Saving the guns at Maiwand.[51]

After his success with The last eleven Feller exhibited at the Royal Academy with:[52]

  • Outpost (1883)
  • Bushey Park (1887)
  • Faithful to the last (1895)

Book illustration[edit]

1881 was also when he did his first book illustrations. These were for Gipsy Mike or, Firm as a Rock published by John F. Shaw and Co., London,[note 9] and G. A. Henty's Out on the Pampas.[note 10] While the illustrations for Gipsy Mike were pen and ink drawings, those for Out on the Pampas were wash-drawings. Unfortunately these drawings . . . were poorly reproduced by halftone blocks made with too fine a screen for the paper they were printed on."[3] Feller was one of two illustrators whose work for Henty suffered the most from being printed on paper that was too low a quality for the fineness of halftone bocks used.[note 11]

No complete list of books illustrated by Feller is available. Even comprehensive catalogues such as the Jisc Library Hub Discover[note 12] have gaps as the names of illustrators are not always recorded when cataloguing even where the publishers provide that information.[note 13]

However by using Jisc, Abe Books, and newspaper achrives, itis possible to build a partial list of authors whose work was illustrated by Feller. These include:

Example of book illustration by Frank Feller[edit]

The following example of book illustration by Frank Feller is from one of the first books he illustrated Gipsy Mike; or, Firm as a Rock. (1881) by an anonymous author. It was published by J. F. Shaw & Co. Illustrations by courtesy of the British Library. These illustrations look static when compared with Feller's later work.[53]

Postcards[edit]

Feller was well known as a post card artist.[2] His series of card designs for Eyre and Spottiswoode of Sportsmen, Sailors, and Policemen were one of the most popular cards for them in 1881.[74]

Image searches, and the Tuck Database,[75] show that Feller contributed to many different series of postcards including:

  • Life in Russia (several series)
  • Life in Spain
  • In the Alps
  • In the Tyrol
  • Angling
  • Life in China
  • Life in Switzerland
  • Cowboys and Indians
  • Soldiers

Unfortunately Raphael Tuck & Sons, for whom Feller did a great deal of work, had their premises destroyed, together with 40,000 original drawings and all their records, on 29 December 1940, during The Blitz.[76] This naturally limits the number of examples of Feller's work.

Feller also painted postcards for Hildesheimer and Faulkner. The Lancet considered that his 1885 Christmas Cards featuring mounted Hussars were very effective.[77] The designs had been purchased by the company between November 1883 and November 1884 as it took five to nine months to lithograph and print each set of cards, and the cards had to be available early enough to allow people to send sets to relatives for this use.[78]

Examples of postcards painted by Frank Feller[edit]

The following postcards were painted by Frank Feller for Raphael Tuck & Sons. The Olivine logo on the cards was one of Tuck's trademarks, and refers to the type of board used.[76]

Later life[edit]

Feller was living at 8 Wetherby Terrace, Earls Court, London, when he died from a heart attack on 6 March 1908.[41] Both The Sphere and the Boys' Own Paper carried obituaries, the first of these with a photograph.[41] His estate was valued at £500 7s. 6d. and his widow Christina was his executor.[79] His widow was left looking after 5 minor children, the last of which, Louise, was born after the death of her father. By 1910, Christina was managing the Duke William of Cumberland public house (called the Duke William Hotel in the census returns) This had been her father's occupation. She remained there until at least 1914.[80]

Christina married Sydney John South Allen at Brentford in the first quarter of 1913.[81] She died at Willesden General Hospital on 15 June 1930. Her youngest son, Louis Siegfried, was her executor, for an estate valued at only £85 14s.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Her surname is sometimes spelled Henser, as on her father's naturalisation declaration, rather than Heuser.[4]
  2. ^ On returning from a short trip to England in August 1920, he stated that he and Nellie have been 15 years in Canada.
  3. ^ Also known as Richard Robert Feller.
  4. ^ Initially provided extensive coverage of the Second Anglo-Boer War, before broadening to other topics. Ran from 14 October 1899 – 17 June 1903, and was then incorporated with Sketchy Bits.[33]
  5. ^ Also dedicated to coverage of the Second Anglo-Boer War. Illustrations and captions only, no separate text. Twelve issues only. Ran from 10 February 1900 – 7 May 1900. Incorporated with Shurey's Illustrated.[34]
  6. ^ Four of the twenty illustrations were not signed by Feller, it is not clear if they are simply not signed, or represent the use of clip art (previously used illustrations) by The Strand.
  7. ^ "Bobby", the only survivor of the regiment, was wounded during the battle, but made his way to Kandahar and rejoined his old corps. Queen Victoria personally placed a medal ribbon around his neck. However, a dignified old age was not to be his, as within a year he was run-over by a cart and killed in the Isle of Wight.[45][46]
  8. ^ A sketch 350 x 300 cm is in the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment Museum at Salisbury
  9. ^ This is available online at the British Library[53]
  10. ^ This was Henty's first children's book, and the heroes of the story bear the names of his own children
  11. ^ The other was Johann Schönberg (1844 – 2 December 1913), a military artist who had been born in Austria, and like Feller, settled in London.[54]
  12. ^ The Jisc Library Hub Discover brings together the catalogues of 165 Major UK and Irish libraries. Additional libraries are being added all the time, and the catalogue collates national, university, and research libraries.[55] [56]
  13. ^ For example, in the specific case of Gipsy Mike there is no identification of the illustrator on the title page, and the British Library does not record Feller as being a contributor to the book.[53]

References[edit]

  • Harrington, Peter (1993). British Artists and War: The Face of Battle in Paintings and Prints, 1700–1914. London: Greenhill.
  1. ^ "World Cat Identities". WorldCat. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Greenwall, Ryno (1992). "The Biographies: Feller, Frank 1848-1908". Artists and Illustrators of the Anglo-Boer War. Vlaeberg, Western Cape, South Africa: Fernwood Press. pp. 131–132. ISBN 0-9583154-2-6.
  3. ^ a b Newbolt, Peter (1996). "Appendix IV: Illustration and Design: Notes on Artists and Designers: Feller, Frank. 1848-1908". 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. p. 625. Retrieved 2020-05-19 – via The Internet Archive.
  4. ^ a b "Piece 004: Certificate Numbers A897 - A1296". UK, Naturalisation Certificates and Declarations, 1870-1916. Kew: National Archives. pp. A1278.
  5. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Wills and Probates 1858 and 1996: Surname Allen and the year of death 1930". Find a Will Service. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
  7. ^ London Metropopolitan Archives (1880-01-31). "1882 Marriage Solemnized at All Saints Church in the Parish of Wandsworth in the County of Surrey: No.237: Frank Fellera and Christina Heuser". London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932. London: London Metropolitan Archives. p. 119.
  8. ^ "Wills and Probates 1858 and 1996: Surname Heuser and the year of death 1887". Find a Will Service. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  9. ^ London Metropopolitan Archives (2010). "Reference Number: p81/sav/003: Baptisms solenmized in the Parish of St Saviour, South Hampstead, in the county of Surrey in the year eighteen hundred and eighty-six". London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917. Provo, Utah: Ancestry.com. p. 262.
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  12. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  13. ^ National Archives (1939-09-29). 1939 Register: Reference: RG 101/1468D E.D. DAHV. Kew: National Archives.
  14. ^ "Wills and Probates 1858 and 1996: Surname Sears and the year of death 1955". Find a Will Service. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  15. ^ War Office (1916-06-22). "British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 for Charles Chitty Sears: Particulars as to marriage". British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920. Kew: National Archives.
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  23. ^ a b National Archives (1939-09-29). 1939 Register: Reference: RG 101/486D E.D. ASLI. Kew: National Archives.
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  28. ^ "The May Magazines". Glasgow Herald (Saturday 05 May 1894): 4. 1894-05-05. Retrieved 2020-07-26 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  29. ^ "November Magazines". Cork Constitution (Thursday 01 November 1894): 3. 1894-11-01. Retrieved 2020-07-26 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
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  32. ^ "Contents of the October Magazines". Leamington Spa Courier (Saturday 06 October 1894): 3. 1894-10-06. Retrieved 2020-07-26 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  33. ^ Muddiman, Joseph George; Austin, Roland (1920). "Magazines and Reviews". Tercentenary handlist of English & Welsh newspapers, magazines & reviews. The Times. London. p. 174. Retrieved 2020-07-25 – via The Internet Archive.
  34. ^ Muddiman, Joseph George; Austin, Roland (1920). "Magazines and Reviews". Tercentenary handlist of English & Welsh newspapers, magazines & reviews. The Times. London. p. 175. Retrieved 2020-07-25 – via The Internet Archive.
  35. ^ "Magazines and Annuals". Daily Telegraph (Tuesday 18 December 1883): 3. 1883-12-18. Retrieved 2020-07-26 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  36. ^ "Frontispiece". The Sphere (Saturday 16 April 1904): 1. 1904-04-16. Retrieved 2020-07-26 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  37. ^ "New Books and Magazines". Belfast News-Letter (Thursday 02 July 1896): 3. 1896-07-02. Retrieved 2020-07-26 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  38. ^ Thorpe, James (1935). "Other Illustrated Weekly Papers: Black and White". English Illustration: The Nineties. London: Faber and Faber. p. 91.
  39. ^ Guerdon, Gilbert. "Marksmanship". The Strand Magazine. VIII (July 1894): 11–21. hdl:2027/umn.31951002786774l. Retrieved 2020-07-26 – via The Hathi Trust (access may be limited outside the United States).
  40. ^ "In the Public Eye". The Sphere (Saturday 21 March 1908): 6. 1908-03-21. Retrieved 2020-07-25 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  41. ^ a b c "Our Note Book". The Boy's Own Paper. XXX (1530): 512. 1908-05-09.
  42. ^ "Christmas Number of Black and White". Nuneaton Advertiser (Saturday 24 November 1894): 2. 1894-11-24. Retrieved 2020-07-26 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  43. ^ "Entre Nous". Truth (Thursday 04 July 1901): 4. 1901-07-04. Retrieved 2020-07-26 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  44. ^ "No Surrender: Frank Feller (1848-1908): The Black Watch Castle and Museum". ArtUK. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  45. ^ "Gossip". Isle of Wight Observer (Saturday 29 July 1882): 6. 1882-07-29. Retrieved 2020-07-24 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  46. ^ "Magazines". Sporting Gazette (Saturday 01 January 1898): 15. 1898-01-01. Retrieved 2020-07-24 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  47. ^ a b "The Last Eleven". The Morning Post (Thursday 04 May 1882): 3. 1882-05-04. Retrieved 2020-07-24 – via Newspapers.com.
  48. ^ "The Last Eleven at Maiwand". The Daily News (UK) (Friday 21 July 1882): 3. 1882-07-21. Retrieved 2020-07-24 – via Newspapers.com.
  49. ^ "Society Gossip". Hampshire Advertiser (Saturday 29 July 1882): 2. 1882-07-29. Retrieved 2020-07-24 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  50. ^ "London Letter". Perthshire Constitutional & Journal (Wednesday 09 August 1882): 2. 1882-08-09. Retrieved 2020-07-24 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
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External links[edit]