So what I actually planned to write about was Pears Soap and all their ads with dogs in them. But then last week, Mom took our print to get a new frame and a mat for it, and when it got taken out of the old frame, she could see that the picture was called Compulsory Education, and it was painted by Charles Burton Barber. When I looked up Mr. Barber, I found out that he painted a whole bunch of pictures of children and dogs and cats and sometimes ponies. So I decided to write about him instead.
|Charles Burton Barber|
First of all, I learned that Mr. Barber was born in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk in 1845. At the age of 18, he began studying at the Royal Academy in London. A year later, he got a silver medal for drawing, and he exhibited for the first time at the Academy in 1866.
|Off to School, 1883|
Before long, Charles Burton Barber became quite popular in England as a painter of animals. Queen Victoria asked him to do paintings of her favorite dogs. The Prince of Wales, who was later King Edward VII, also commissioned Mr. Barber to paint his pets. Several of these paintings are now in the Royal Collection. Mr. Barber was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1883, which was the same year he painted Off to School, which was one of his most famous works.
|A Scratch Pack|
Many of Mr. Barber's paintings were engraved and made into prints. The originals often appeared in exhibits at The Royal Academy, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Walker Art Gallery, Manchester City Art Gallery, and The Fine Art Society. Some of Mr. Barber's work is quite realistic, and other pieces are just quick sketches. There are people who think the work is too sentimental, but it is still pretty popular nowadays, mainly because the paintings are very well done.
|Time to Wake Up|
The last painting made by Charles Burton Barber was of Queen Victoria in her pony carriage with all her grandchildren around her. This was in 1894. A little later that same year, Mr. Barber died at the age of 49.
Sadly, it turned out that Mr. Barber didn't really like painting pictures of children and pets. After he died, his brother said this about him:
The fact is, his heart was literally in the Highlands, for his love of the red deer and the attraction which mountain solitudes and scenes of storm and mist possessed for him was quite phenomenal, and whenever the picture dealers would give him a holiday he sketched these subjects with an absorbing interest and delight, which was, under all the circumstances of the case, quite pathetic.
|A Special Pleader, 1893|
And here is a quote from Harry Furniss, who was a friend and biographer of Charles Burton Barber:
It cannot be truly said that he enjoyed his work. He disliked thinking his subject out, and was quite miserable during its inception. The sight of a new canvas made him ill, and the spectacle of a new frame, which generally means the completion of the picture for which it is made, invariably upset him. He was not imaginative, he was not prolific, and he was not a "potboiler."
|Girl With Dogs|
I am sorry to have to report these things about a man who did such nice paintings of dogs and little girls. I hope he at least had some dogs of his own and maybe some children, too. He had to get his models someplace. I especially like those fox terriers who are in several paintings, because they look like they would be fun to play with!