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  Samuel Luke Fildes  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Samuel Luke Fildes
 
 
 
 
Sir Samuel Luke Fildes, KCVO, RA (3 October 1843 – 28 February 1927) was an English painter and illustrator born at Liverpool and trained in the South Kensington and Royal Academy schools.

Illustrator
At the age of seventeen Luke Fildes became a student at the Warrington School of Art. Fildes moved to the South Kensington Art School where he met Hubert von Herkomer and Frank Holl. All three men became influenced by the work of Frederick Walker, the leader of the social realist movement in Britain.

Fildes shared his grandmother's concern for the poor and in 1869 joined the staff of The Graphic newspaper, an illustrated weekly began and edited by the social reformer, William Luson Thomas. Fildes shared Thomas' belief in the power of visual images to change public opinion on subjects such as poverty and injustice. Thomas hoped that the images in The Graphic would result in individual acts of charity and collective social action.

Fildes' illustrations were in the black-and-white style popular in France and Germany during the era. He worked in a social realist style, compatible with the editorial direction of The Graphic, and focussed on images depicting the destitute of London. The Graphic published an illustration completed by Fildes the day after Charles Dickens' death, showing Dickens' empty chair in his study; this illustration was widely reprinted worldwide, and inspired Vincent van Gogh's painting The Yellow Chair.

In the first edition of The Graphic newspaper that appeared in December 1869, Luke Fildes was asked to provide an illustration to accompany an article on the Houseless Poor Act, a new measure that allowed some of those people out of work shelter for a night in the casual ward of a workhouse. The picture produced by Fildes showed a line of homeless people applying for tickets to stay overnight in the workhouse. The wood-engraving, entitled Houseless and Hungry, was seen by John Everett Millais who brought it to the attention of Charles Dickens, who was so impressed he immediately commissioned Fildes to illustrate The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Fildes' illustrations also appeared in other mass-circulation periodicals: Sunday Magazine, The Cornhill Magazine, and The Gentleman's Magazine. He also illustrated a number of books in addition to Dickens' Edwin Drood, such as Thackeray's Catherine (1894).


Self Portrait
 

Painter
Fildes soon became a popular artist and by 1870 he had given up working for The Graphic and had turned his full attention to oil painting. He took rank among the ablest English painters, with The Casual Ward (1874), The Widower (1876), The Village Wedding (1883), An Al-fresco Toilette (1889); and The Doctor (1891), now in Tate Britain. He also painted a number of pictures of Venetian life and many notable portraits, among them portraits commemorating the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy (A.S.A.) in 1879, and a Royal Academician (R.A.) in 1887; and was knighted by King Edward VII in 1906. In 1918, he was appointed as Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) by King George V. Fildes produced a large number of caricatures for Vanity Fair under the nom de crayon "ELF". He and Henry Woods were regarded as leaders of the Neo-Venetian school. In 1874 Luke Fildes married Fanny Woods, who was also an artist and the sister of Henry Woods.

Fildes' first son, Philip, died of tuberculosis in 1877. The image of the doctor at his son's side during the ordeal left a lasting memory of professional devotion that inspired Fildes' 1891 work The Doctor. His later son, Sir Paul Fildes, was an eminent scientist. A blue plaque marks Fildes's former house, Woodland House, in Melbury Road, Kensington, next to William Burges's Tower House. His home was later owned by film director Michael Winner.

Modern politics
In 1949 Fildes' painting The Doctor (1891) was used by the American Medical Association in a campaign against a proposal for nationalized medical care put forth by President Harry S. Truman. The image was used in posters and brochures along with the slogan, "Keep Politics Out of this Picture" implying that involvement of the government in medical care would negatively affect the quality of care. 65,000 posters of The Doctor were displayed, which helped to raise public skepticism for the nationalized health care campaign.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 

Alexandra of Denmark




Queen Alexandra, when Princess of Wales




Mrs Mary Venetia James, née Cavendish-Bentinck




George V of the UK



 



Edward VII in coronation robes (1901)




Edward VII



 



Italian scene





Italienne




Woman Portrait





Portrait of a young woman






Woman Portrait







Woman Portrait






Woman Portrait
 





Portrait





Venetta







Woman reading





Sir (Samuel) Luke Fildes





King George V 1911 George V in coronation robes






Jessica








Physician watching over a sick child



 

The Doctor





Motherless






Prince George of Wales later King George V






Queen Alexandra






A Venetian Flower Girl





The Duet






Rosa Siega








The widower






Sir (Samuel) Luke Fildes






Sir Frederick Treves








An Alfresco Toilet Jessica







The Village Wedding

 
 
 
 


Mrs Pantia Ralli
 
 
 
 


Simpletons, The Sweet River
 
 
 
 


Devotion
 
 
 
 


English Illustration - The Sixties
 
 
 

 
 
 
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