John Everett

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(Herbert Barnard) John Everett (18 August 1876 – 22 February 1949), was an English painter.


Portrait of the painter Herbert Barnard John Everett, by William Orpen

Known as Herbert by his family, he was born in Dorchester, Dorset.[1] on 18 August 1876. His father Rev. Henry Everett was Rector of Holy Trinity in Dorchester and his mother, Augusta Stewart (also known as Aurelia) could trace her maternal ancestry back to Viscount Sackville, third son of the Duke of Dorset and her paternal to the 7th Earl of Galloway and the 7th Earl of Wemyss. Herbert was their only son.

In the 1880s his parents had contacts with Thomas and Emma Hardy who spent time there before moving to Max Gate.[1] In the autumn of 1896 after his father died, Everett went to London to enroll at the Slade School of Fine Art.[1] After studying briefly at the Académie Julian in Paris, Everett's life took an unconventional path when he embarked on the first of his 16 sea voyages. He signed on in the London docks, as a working member of the crew of the sailing ship, Iquique, in 1898, travelling to Sydney and returning in 1899. Back in London in 1899, Everett returned to the Slade, working and socializing with his fellow students who formed part of London's cafe society. They all went on painting excursions to Cornwall and France, and these trips had a profound effect on their work. In 1901 he married his Irish cousin and fellow Slade student, Kathleen Olive Herbert (known as Katherine), 1871–1954.[1]

His works, mostly landscapes of his native Dorset and maritime paintings, became known after the rediscovery of a set of plates that he made of Dorset based on fictional places in the works of the writer Thomas Hardy.[1] The plates were meant to be published in a book by American writer Ernest Brennecke, but the book was banned in Britain through intervention by Hardy himself, who felt it was too inaccurate.[1]

After their marriage, he and his wife Katherine initially lived in Fitzroy Street, London and went on honeymoon at sea, arranging passage to Australia on a 700-ton barque. The trip took 117 days and was intended as an opportunity for John Everett to paint, but according to his wife's autobiography it was "...the one thing he had not done and never did on that voyage."[2]

Around 1904 the Herberts moved to Wool in Dorset, renting the Woolbridge Manor House that belonged to a Mrs. Drax and had been the home of the Turbervilles. Because of this they were visited by Thomas Hardy and Katherine, herself also an artist, copied the frescos from the Manor House's walls which were reproduced in his novel.[3]

It was at Wool that the Everett's first son Henry was born in 1904. He was an ill child who initially failed to thrive and Katherine was left to look after him on her own. Herbert eventually returned and the couple moved to Paris and then Swanage where their second child Anthony Blaze was born in 1906.

Some time in 1906/7 the couple moved to Corfe Castle, where they rented a mill house called Arfleet.[4] Katharine and her son Anthony can be seen in the garden of Arfleet in Henry Tonks' 1908 painting "Summer".[5] In her autobiography Katherine mentions the execution of this painting, and how neither she or the artist considered it a success, but rather "a confused failure".[6]

The Everetts spent several years at Arfleet, but had to move when claypit excavations nearby threatened to undermine the house. They bought land at Broadstone and designed and built their own home, called Prospect. However, by 1914 their marriage had ended. In Katherine's own words "In the past if things had been uncomfortable, as for instance directly after my babies were born, Herbert went away, perhaps to Paris or Cornwall or I might not know where he was. This time he informed me that his disappearance was to be final[7] After this point, John Everett made no effort to see or pay for the education of his children, and his wife Katherine looked after them exclusively.[8]

In 1918 he joined the Merchant Navy as a Seaman; his rank was Fourth Officer.

He died in London on 22 February 1949.

In 2017 it was found that there are more paintings by John Everett in UK public art collections than any other artist.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f John Everett on Dorset life website, by Gwen Yarker
  2. ^ Katherine Everett Bricks and Flowers'.'Constable & Co 1951, p. 100.
  3. ^ Katherine Everett Op. Cit.' p. 118-121.'
  4. ^ "Dorset's mills | Dorset Life - The Dorset Magazine". Dorset Life. Retrieved 2016-10-19. Now known as Boar Mill 
  5. ^ "'Summer', Henry Tonks". Tate. 2015-12-10. Retrieved 2016-10-19. 
  6. ^ Katherine Everett Op. Cit.'p. 128'
  7. ^ Katherine Everett Op. Cit. p. 141.
  8. ^ Katherine Everett Op. Cit. p. 142.
  9. ^ Bradshaw, Pete Sherlock and Paul (2017-02-11). "Illuminating facts about the UK's art collection". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-02-11. 

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