Sunday, October 10, 2010

Horatio Henry Couldery 1832-1918

Nowhere to Hide 

I like art featuring animals. The paintings by Horatio Henry Couldery, though sentimental, capture animals in a way recognisable to anyone with a pet gracing (or destroying) their home.


Horatio Henry Couldery was born the fourth of nine children in Lewisham, England in the year 1832. Though originally apprenticed to a cabinetmaker, he soon expressed displeasure, and entered the Royal Academy School at the age of either 23 or 25 depending on which source read. Since he specialized in painting animals, his classmates nicknamed him "Kitten Couldery." This is not a bad nickname, as there are much worse things than being associated with kittens. Besides painting cats and dogs, he also portrayed ducks, pheasants (not peasants), rabbits, mice and fish. I mentioned the peasants in honor of an old history professor who disliked reading student answers about the "pheasants" of the middle ages. 

A True Reflection

Though Couldery's paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy, and often used to illustrate children's books, he was not a wealthy man. At his death in 1918, his estate was worth only 250 pounds. I find this a sad state of affairs.

The Reluctant Playmate

Art critic John Ruskin wrote Couldery was "skillful, detailed, in sympathy with a kitten's nature, sensitive to the finest gradations in kittenly meditation and motion - unsurpassable." 

The New Arrival

Couldery's paintings can be seen at the Glanmore Museum in Belleville, Ontario. Glanmore has the largest collection of Couldery's work in the world. Apparently, they own at least forty-two of his paintings. A very large collection indeed.

Exemplary Behavior

It's not easy being good!

The President

Newfoundlands are great dogs. This one looks very business like.

Faithful Companions

Couldery's images have become popular on greeting cards.

An Unexpected Guest

Sometimes cats will adopt a puppy if it needs a mother.

Kitten in Vase

A hope that vase lives to tell the tale.

A Pug

One last painting of a dignified pug.

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