Henry Stacy Marks

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Henry Stacy Marks
Henry Stacy Marks, by Henry Stacy Marks.jpg
Self-portrait (1882; Aberdeen Art Gallery)
Born (1829-09-13)13 September 1829
Died 9 January 1898(1898-01-09) (aged 68)
Nationality English
Known for Painter, illustrator

Helen Drysdale (1856–1892)

Mary Harriet Kempe (1893)
Patron(s) Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster

Henry Stacy Marks RA (London 13 September 1829 – 9 January 1898 London) was an English artist who took a particular interest in painting birds.

Life and Work[edit]

Capital and labour (1874)

He was the fourth child of John Isaac Marks and Elizabeth (née Pally). His father was a solicitor who later became a coach builder. One of his brothers was the writer John George Marks. Henry enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools in about 1851 and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1853.

When his father's business as a solicitor failed, Henry Stacy Marks had to support not only his wife, but his family of origin, including his mother and three younger brothers, on the proceeds of his art.

Marks supplemented his income from painting by carrying out decorative work for various patrons. These included the Minton works, for the stained-glass manufacturers Clayton and Bell, by designing a frieze for the outside wall of the Royal Albert Hall, and for the house of the artist Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Marks' most important patron was Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster. Marks worked on decorations for the duke's house, Eaton Hall, Cheshire, between 1874 and 1880. For this purpose he painted two canvasses 35 feet (11 m) long of Chaucer's pilgrims, and twelve panels of birds.[1]

Marks became a member of the St John's Wood Clique in 1862. As his career progressed, he became increasingly interested in painting birds. Possibly his most famous painting is A Select Committee (1891) which is now in the Walker Art Gallery. He was elected as a member of the Royal Academy following his painting Convocation, which was exhibited in 1878. Most of his paintings of birds were watercolours, which he exhibited at the Old Watercolour Society or at the Fine Art Society.[1]

A bookplate made by Marks for his wife, Mary, that demonstrates his love of drawing birds.

Personal life[edit]

Marks was married in 1856, to Helen Drysdale. Helen died in 1892, and the following year Marks married Mary Harriet Kempe, who was also a painter.

Death and Legacy[edit]

Marks died on 9 January 1898 in his London home and was buried in Hampstead Cemetery. His estate amounted to a little over £9,600.[1]

The Victoria and Albert Museum holds three of Marks' finished watercolour studies of birds and eleven sketches for larger paintings.[1] Some of his works are exhibited in the Parrot House of Eaton Hall.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d A. R. Pennie, "Marks, Henry Stacy (1829–1898)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online edn, October 2007, accessed 16 January 2009 (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ The Parrot House, Grosvenor Estate, retrieved 16 January 2009 

External links[edit]