Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Inspiration: Sir Frank Dicksee

I just stumbled on a collection of paintings by Sir Francis Dicksee and saw some really great paintings that I was completely unaware of. I didn't know much about him or his work, and previously thought of him as a genre painter and member of the pre-raphaelite movement. Upon reading his biography, he apparently only has a loose association with the movement – mostly because of his general style and popular genre paintings like the Romeo & Juliet or Othelo works that you most likely have seen.

Francis Bernard Dicksee was born in London, 1853. He studied in the studio of his father, Thomas Francis Dicksee, who painted portraits and historical genre scenes; he then enrolled at the Royal Academy in 1870, was elected RA in 1891, and became it's president in 1924. Through some early studies with Henry Holiday, a designer of stained glass, Dicksee grew to enjoy the decorative and detailed aspects of painting. With the further influences of Fredric Leighton and G.F. Watts, Dicksee filled his wonderful compositions with orchestrations of color and elaborate detail.

It's because of this attention to composition, detail, and decoration, that I find it an inspiration for my own work. I can't imagine the amount of time and devotion that went into these paintings. I consider them masterpieces and I hope to someday create works that warrant the same title. Although I personally like a loose, painterly style, I admire these works very much, and feel that they still have plenty of exquisite brush work that is generally unnoticeable in much of today's "classicism" and photo realism styles.

Other interesting historical notes is that his sister Margaret Isabel and brother Herbert Thomas were also painters, along with his uncle John Robert Dicksee and his aforementioned father.

Sir Frank Dicksee passed away suddenly on the 17th of October 1928.

 For more on Dicksee, check out the Art Renewal Center info


innisart said...

Years ago, I heard Simon Toll, the author of the Herbert Draper book, was putting together a book on Frank Dicksee. I'm looking forward to it, but no news yet.

As much as I like his Romantic depictions of knights, his portraits are even more wonderful to see. A couple have come up up for auction in the past decade, and they were beautiful.

I hope when the book finally comes out, it will have a large focus on those later portraits.

M S Stanley said...

Stunning, lovely paintings. Thanks for informing me of Dicksee's work.

Ryan Mellody said...

Matt, I totally agree . . . I was so inspired by his portraits, it really tied his work to reality and an everyday feeling, which I wasn't seeing in his "illustration"/genre works.

I hope Simon Toll's book work is continuing, I would definitely be ordering one of the first copies.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. Great stuff! Yes, glad to hear someone else comment on the lack of brushwork and IMHO edges, etc... in today's "tight" painters or new "classical" styles! The photo realists I understand because I believe they are going for the photo effect. As for the classical groups, it may be that many of them have not seen original works from those they are trying to emulate? Just a guess.

It's hard to beat these great old-timers. Thank you so much.

anjos said...

incrible images.

Anonymous said...

I am still working on the Dicksee book and there certainly will be a focus on the portraits. Many thanks for your words of encouragement. Simon Toll.

Anonymous said...

Good to hear from Simon Toll, that he's still working on the book - I've been looking forward to it for years and hope it's finished and published in the not-too-distant future. Thanks Simon.
Ihsan A.