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William Henry Gore | Genre painter

William Henry Gore RI (1857-1942) was an British painter and watercolourist of the late Victorian period to the early Twentieth Century.
He is known for his rural landscapes of his native Berkshire and for his Genre paintings of children and animals.
Gore was in the tradition of late Victorian Romanticism and Naturalism that flourished in the period before the turn of the Twentieth Century but which quickly became unfashionable in the aftermath of the Great War and the social and political changes that followed.


W.H.Gore spent the majority of his commercial working life in Berkshire town of Newbury and in the surrounding countryside of his native Berkshire.
He was born in September 1857 in Speenhamland, now a contiguous part of Newbury. He was the only son of three children to George Gore (1821-1864), a painter, plumber and decorator and Clara (known as Eliza) Gore (née Chubb).
His Father’s death when W H Gore was seven years old witnessed the family moving to their uncle William Chubb’s house in Speenhamland.
The family were staunch members of the local Congregation Church and Gore remained attached to the church until his death.
He received his early art training in the Lambeth School of Art, from which he entered the Royal Academy schools in 1880 and during the next twenty years he exhibited twenty nine paintings but only three in the period 1900-1914.
Gore was a student at the Royal Academy for five years until 1885 coinciding with the start of the long Presidency of Frederic Leighton.

At the Royal Academy he studied a mixture of drawing from Greek and Roman sculpture, anatomy and perspective painting using live models.
One of Gore’s prime influences during this period was the realism of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and in particular John Everett Millais who succeeded briefly as President of the Royal Academy in 1886 (He died just three months after his election).
Following Gore's academic days he returned to Berkshire and from 1898 he had moved back to his Mother’s house where he continued to live and work in a studio in the grounds until his death in 1942.

He did not marry and chose to live a quiet, contemplative life centred on his boyhood church.
Gore was a member of the Royal Society of British Artists from 1893-1913 exhibiting around ninety works during which he entered Stolen Kisses are the Sweetest in the St Louis Exhibition and Sympathy in the 1906 New Zealand Exhibition.
Gore was also a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters.
Gore remained an active painter until he turned 70 in 1927.
He died on 5 May 1942.

Landscape and rural scenes paintings

Many of W.H. Gore’s rural paintings display a nostalgic view of the nearby Kennet Valley and the surrounding Berkshire countryside.
The influence of the French Barbizon School of realism and in particular the work of Jean-François Millet and François-Louis Français is evident in his work.
The heyday of the Barbizon School was over by c.1870 but Gore incorporates some of the prominent features of the French school in the use of: colour, softness of form and in tonal qualities.
Two works by Millet The Angelus a painting of two figures standing during a contemplative moment and The Gleaners the latter portraying the figures toiling in the landscape were well known to late Victorians and their symbolic content influenced Gore in his depiction of rural life.

Paintings from the 1880s such as: Listed from the Guildhall collection in London and a watercolour In The Gloaming are intimate portrayals of Late Victorian romantic painting.
Listed (sic) depicts two young lovers in sad reflection of the prospect of a young man joining up with his regiment. The ribbons in his cap refer to the custom of new recruits wearing their regimental colours to denote their willingness to be shot at for sixpence a day.
The pathos of the idea expressed moved H. Stacy Marks, R.A., who was a member of the Council of the Royal Academy, to tears such was its effect on his sensibilities. Marks reaction provides an insight into the mind-set of many Victorians.
In The Gloaming sees two lovers by the River Kennet in tender proximity to each other. These were themes that Gore returned to throughout his painting career.
They provided him with a reasonable living but by the end of his life they were unfashionable and no longer in demand.
They appealed to a late Victorian sensibility that the values of a Merrie England of bucolic contentment still existed.
The reality was that the Berkshire countryside, along with the rest of the British countryside, was irrevocably changing.

The 1880s were a time of an economic recession in the English countryside that lasted for most of the Nineteenth Century with many thousands of poorly paid agricultural workers leaving the land for the towns and the cities and with their exodus many of the rural trades and skills also disappeared. The hardships of rural life are generally missing from Gore’s rural paintings.
Nevertheless there is a subtle poignancy within paintings such as The Wood Gatherers (Royal Academy 1897) and Rising Moon (Royal Academy 1908) with its echoes of Linnell and Constable.
W.H. Gore's landscapes without figures display an abiding affinity for the Berkshire countryside. The area of the River Kennet valley lies within flat pastures, moors and meadows and provided scope for panoramas of watery meadows and high skies.

In common with many English landscape artists the skies are reminiscent of the work of John Constable (also a favourite of the French Barbizon School).
The early works are inspired by the Romantic poetry of Shelley and Keats, sentiments from an earlier age and possess titles that include Midst Tall crested reeds whispering their lullaby (RSBA 1881) and Stretch’d Wide and Wild the Enormous Marsh (RSBA 1892).
Gore’s rural landscapes often possess tranquillity and an abiding affection for the countryside.

Children and animal paintings

Gore was a Victorian genre painter of children and animals. Genre painting is a term that refers to the depiction of everyday life and was immensely popular in the late Victorian period.
Gore’s painting of children and animals capture the excitement and playfulness of a Victorian child at play.
They are affectionate and arresting but came to be seen by some critics as trite and sentimental.
Their reassessment took the best part of a century. The whereabouts of many of his genre paintings are unknown with some examples known only from photographs and sketches discovered at his studio in Newbury.

One of W.H.Gore’s most famous images is Forgive Us Our Trespasses exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1897.
A little girl in a night-dress is kneeling against her bed saying her prayers. A small dog, possibly one of the terriers that Gore owned, is also kneeling seeking attention. It is an image that has been produced many times since in commercial settings.
The West Berkshire Museum at Newbury in Gore’s home town owns two paintings A Pastoral Scene (1914) and The Culprit (1900), the latter an example of Gore’s genre painting of children. | Source: © Wikipedia

William Henry Gore RI (1857-1942) è stato un pittore ed acquerellista Inglese dal tardo periodo vittoriano all'inizio del XX secolo.
È noto per i suoi paesaggi rurali del suo nativo Berkshire e per i suoi dipinti di genere di bambini ed animali.
Gore appartiene al romanticismo ed al naturalismo tardo vittoriano che fiorì nel periodo prima dell'inizio del XX secolo ma che divenne rapidamente fuori moda all'indomani della Grande Guerra e dei cambiamenti sociali e politici che ne seguirono.


W.H. Gore ha trascorso la maggior parte della sua vita lavorativa commerciale nella città di Newbury nel Berkshire e nella campagna circostante del suo nativo Berkshire.
Nacque nel settembre 1857 a Speenhamland, ora una parte contigua di Newbury. Era l'unico figlio di tre figli di George Gore (1821-1864), pittore, idraulico e decoratore e Clara (conosciuta come Eliza) Gore (nata Chubb).
La morte di suo padre quando WH Gore aveva sette anni ha visto la famiglia trasferirsi a casa dello zio William Chubb a Speenhamland. La famiglia era un fedele membro della locale Congregation Church e Gore rimase attaccato alla chiesa fino alla sua morte.

Ricevette la sua prima formazione artistica alla Lambeth School of Art, dalla quale entrò nelle scuole della Royal Academy nel 1880 e durante i vent'anni successivi espose ventinove dipinti ma solo tre nel periodo 1900-1914.
Gore fu studente alla Royal Academy per cinque anni fino al 1885 in coincidenza con l'inizio della lunga Presidenza di Frederic Leighton.
Alla Royal Academy ha studiato una miscela di disegno dalla scultura greca e romana, anatomia e pittura prospettica utilizzando modelli dal vivo.
Una delle principali influenze di Gore durante questo periodo fu il realismo della Fratellanza Preraffaellita ed in particolare John Everett Millais che successe brevemente come Presidente della Royal Academy nel 1886 (morì appena tre mesi dopo la sua elezione).

Dopo i giorni accademici di Gore tornò nel Berkshire e dal 1898 si era trasferito a casa di sua madre dove continuò a vivere e lavorare in uno studio nel parco fino alla sua morte nel 1942. Non si sposò e scelse di vivere una vita tranquilla e contemplativa.
Gore è stato membro della Royal Society of British Artists dal 1893-1913 esponendo circa novanta opere durante le quali ha inserito Stolen Kisses are the Sweetest nella St Louis Exhibition e Sympathy nella New Zealand Exhibition del 1906.
Gore era anche membro del Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colors e del Royal Institute of Oil Painters.
Gore rimase un pittore attivo fino a quando compì 70 anni nel 1927.
Morì il 5 maggio 1942. | Fonte: British Wikipedia