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Pinwell, George John

PINWELL, GEORGE JOHN (1842-1875), British water-colour painter, was born at Wycombe, and educated at Heatherley's Academy. He is one of the most interesting personalities in the little group of water-colour painters which included Frederick Walker and A. B. Houghton, a group whose style was directly derived from the practice of drawing upon wood for book illustration. He was one of the most delightful book illustrators of his day, poetic in imagination, with considerable inventive power and an admirable sense of colour. As he died young his works are few, but their promise was so great that had he lived he would probably have attained a very high position. His early life was one of considerable privation. In 1862 he entered at Heatherley's studio and there obtained his art education. His earliest drawings appeared in Lilliput Levee. He did a little work for Fun and executed several designs for the silversmiths, Elkingtons. In 1863 his first drawing appeared in Once a Week, and from that time his work was in constant demand. There are many of his compositions in Good Words, The Sunday Magazine, The Quiver and London Society, but his most important productions made for the Dalziel brothers were illustrations of Goldsmith, of Jean Ingelow's poems, Robert Buchanan's Ballads of the Affections, and the Arabian Nights.

Of Pinwell's pictures in colour, which are distinguished by a remarkable, jewel-like quality and marked by his strong love of pure, bright colour and opalescent effect, the chief are the two scenes from the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Gilbert a Becket's Troth, Out of Tune or The Old Cross, A Seat in St James's Park, and The Elixir of Life.

In 1874 Pinwell fell seriously ill and went to Africa for the winter. He painted several remarkable pictures at Tangier, but his strength gradually broke down and he returned to die in his wife's arms on the 8th of September 1875. Pinwell was an exhibitor at the Dudley gallery, and in 1869 was elected associate of the Royal Water-Colour Society and full member in 1870; to this gallery he contributed fifty-nine works. A posthumous exhibition of his works was held in 1876 in Bond Street.

See Life of George J. Pinwell, by George C. Williamson, quarto, 1900. (G. C. W.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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