ELGOOD, George Samuel

1851 - 1943

Born at Oxford Street, St Mary, Leicester on 26 February 1851, one of ten children of Samuel Elgood (1807-1874), a wool merchant, and his wife, Jane Octavia, daughter of George Shirley of Meckworth, Derbyshire, who married at Tamworth on 19 December 1839. In 1861 a pupil at a small school kept by James Russell Potter, author & tutor, at Far Street, Wymerswold, Leicestershire and in 1865 went to Bloxham School, Banbury, remaining there for about a year. The family then resided at Cranford, Framlingham, Suffolk, where his father Samuel had been born in 1807, but financial reasons caused their return to Leicester by 1871, where Samuel Elgood ran a yarn agency. George attended the Leicester School of Art, studying under Wilmot Pilsbury (1840-1908) and sketched the Leicestershire countryside and its buildings. Elgood began a course at the South Kensington School of Art (later the Royal College of Art), specialising in architecture, but after the death of his father had to return to Leicester in 1874 to carry on the family business. Travelling about the country for the yarn agency, gave him the opportunity to paint landscapes in his spare time and he exhibited his work for the first time at the Liverpool Walker Art Gallery in 1874, showing again in 1878 and 1880. He also exhibited at the Dudley Gallery and at the Baillie Gallery. In 1881 he became an associate of the Institute of Painters in Water Colours, and in 1882 an associate of the Institute of Painters in Oil Colours. Most of his garden paintings, including 'The Forecourt of the Grand Hote Varese, formerly Villa Morosini', were shown between 1891 and 1925 at the Fine Arts Society, where they were very popular and sold to affluent patrons including members of the royal family: Queen Victoria and Queen Mary both purchased Elgood's pictures, many of which are still in the Royal Collection. He married in 1883, Mary Wellington Clephan, an artist and a woman of means, after which Elgood began specialising in the painting of gardens becoming one of the best garden painters of his time. The Elgoods spent several months in Italy every year visiting Venice, Florence, and Rome, as well as Sicily. Elgood's garden paintings reached a wide public after his two books were published 'Some English Gardens', in collaboration with Gertrude Jekyll in 1904 and 'Italian Gardens' in 1907. In 1908 Elgood moved to ‘Knockwood’, Woodchurch Road, Tenterden in Kent and as he grew older his eccentricities increased and he lived without electric light or piped water. In 1939, a widower and an artist painter living at 'Knockwood' with unmarried Jane Octaviana Shirley, daughter of Thomas Scott Elgood (born 17 June 1874) and he died at 'Knockwood' on 21 October 1943. (Eve Eckstein, 'George Samuel Elgood: his life & works' (1995)




Works by This Painter