Art Friday: Henry John Yeend King

Fishing on a quiet backwater

Artist: Henry John Yeend King
British painter
21 August 1855-1924

Henry John Yeend King was an important Victorian genre and landscape artist. He was born in London on August 21, 1855 and began his education as a choirboy at the Temple Church. One of the artist's earliest recollections was of being locked in the building one afternoon after practice: "I had to spend the night in a cabin built of pew cushions, while my father was inquiring at every hospital in London. After three weeks' rest with a bad cold, on going back to my choral duties I was summoned to an interview with a Bencher, who, after regaling me with cake and wine, presented me with five shillings for having been a 'good boy,' and 'for not having thrown my boots through one of the stained-glass windows.' The idea of doing such a thing had never occurred to me."
His specialty was scenes of rustic genre and the countryside - almost never showing the heavily industrialized cities. His paintings depict pretty farm girls (often using his own daughter as a model) at work in the fields or on the farm - much like the French Realist artist Julien Dupré; or women at rest in tranquil landscapes or cottage gardens.
In 1881 he married Edith Lilian Atkinson and they had one daughter - Lilian (who became an artist).  In appearance Yeend King was a contrast to the conventional idea of an artist, being clean-shaven, wearing his hair short, and having a genial smile and a great fund of humor. Like most painters, however, he was a real Bohemian, with a wonderful collection of funny stories, which he told well. He was seldom without a snuff-box, although he himself was not a constant snuff-taker.
In 1879, he was elected to the Royal Society of British Artist (RBA) and in 1886 he was elected to the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolor (of which he later became vice-president). He was also a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Oil-Colors and was a frequent exhibitor at all the major exhibition halls; showing 115 works at the RBA, 38 at the RI and 94 at the Royal Academy. Yeend King also exhibited paintings throughout Europe and the United States - winning medals in Paris, Berlin and Chicago.
He died on June 10, 1924 at the age of 68. (source)

Gathering poppies
A walk in the country
May Day
On the dunes
Their favourite spot
Afternoon picnic
Crossing the road

At the gate
Twas the night before Christmas


  1. Mmm, these are quite nice! I especially love country scenes (less building clutter, more peacefulness). Do you like them, Jo?

  2. I like most of them Clara - in particular "On the Dunes" (which I find quite a modern painting in some ways), Crabbing and the very top painting (Fishing) -I also really like "at the Gate" (it reminds me a quiet spring day with a little breeze, chatting under a tree - a little romantic I know!). I don't really like the winter Christmas one very much.

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  4. I own paintings by him (none of the ones you featured) I thought the Christmas scene was interesting because it was a departure from what he usually does.


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