ROWE, George James

1804 - 1883

George Rowe

Born at Weeley Camp, Essex on 24 September 1804, only son of George Rowe (1772-1843), an army surgeon in the 69th Foot, and his wife Susanna née Cook (1765-1843) who married at Seaford, Sussex on 21 October 1803. After a tour of duty including Ireland, in 1815 his father opened a practice in Well Street, Woodbridge, the same road to where Thomas Churchyard [q.v.] moved about 1825 and the two neighbouring aspiring artists began their lifelong friendship. At an early age Rowe drew a series of ‘Characters of Ipswich’ lithographed by Ipswich printer Stephen Piper between 1821-22 when Rowe would only have been about 17 years of age. In 1829 Rowe advertised his 'instructions in drawing' from his home at Drybridge, Woodbridge and in 1830 exhibited at the Norwich Society of Artists 'Study from Nature' and in the same year had his first exhibit accepted at the Royal Academy. Both Rowe and Churchyard left Woodbridge for London, with Rowe having studio at 13 Portland Town Road, Regents Park and Churchyard set up a studio at 7 Stamford Grove, Stamford Hill, Upper Clapton, Churchyard however returned to Woodbridge about 18 months later. In 1831 a local auctioneer advertised the sale of 'prints, drawings, paintings, and grease drawings of Mr. George Rowe, drawing master, who is leaving the town' this was followed by another auction at Woodbridge by Nursey & Elvis in 1836. Rowe’s parents died at Woodbridge in 1843 when he seems to severed his connections with the town completely, with a final Woodbridge sale of effects, paintings etc., in 1844. He exhibited his works at the Royal Academy for the last time in 1854 from 21 Carburton Street, London including 'On the River at Woodbridge' and 'Suburban Study Bayswater'. In 1871 a lodger at 36 Cirencester Place and 1881 at 115 Great Titchfield Street, Marylebone, London in both cases being described as having ‘no occupation’ and where he died unmarried on 5 February 1883, his age being given as 76 but the census records of 1871 and 1881 gives his age as 66 and 76 respectively. He had gradually become a recluse of an eccentric nature and had not left his room for eighteen months when he was found one day lying insensible and died the following day of ‘inflammation of the lungs’. Rowe’s sister, having emigrated to the USA in 1844, donated nearly 1,000 of his sketches, watercolours and prints to the Davenport Public Museum, Iowa, but these have since been dispersed. (The Hidden Art of George James Rowe of Woodbridge-Chloe Bennett 2014)




Works by This Painter