Robert Edward Morrison (1852-1925); A Good Oil on Canvas Portrait of a Lady Dated to 1889

Origin: English
Period: Late Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1889
Height: 24”
Width: 19”

The very well depicted head and shoulders portrait of a lady of high standing, in her middle years, strawberry ginger hair and rose tinted cheeks, wearing lace and pearl collar and a yellow and white satin dress, the whole on a dark ground, painted in oils on canvas and remaining unframed and surviving from the high Victorian period by well listed artist Robert Edward Morrison (1852-1925) and signed and dated in scarlet red upper right.

The picture is in un-restored condition and we love it as it is. There are no major losses and the canvas has some craquelure to its surface. There are a few very minor areas of flaked loss please refer to the photographs. Verso we see the stamp for leading colourmen Windsor & Newton.

1889 in England saw the opening of the Savoy Hotel, Wimbledon F.C. playing their first match, and the little owl first breeding in England.

Robert Edward Morrison (1852-1925) was the son of John Morrison, a joiner and later manager of one of the Peel timber yards. Originally trained as a house painter, he served part of his apprenticeship with William Nicholson of Douglas, father of the Manx artist, John Miller Nicholson. Morrison moved to Liverpool in 1870, where he worked as a house painter. At the age of 21, he became a student at the Liverpool School of Art, where he studied under John Finnie. He later studied in Paris at the Académie Julian under Bouguereau and Tony Fleury. Morrison returned to Liverpool in the mid-1870s to become a full-time artist specialising in portrait painting. He started exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1884. He also exhibited extensively at the Liverpool Academy, acting as its President from 1895–1905. He was an active member of the Liverpool Manx Society and was its President from 1911.

Morrison was given his first art lessons by John Miller Nicholson, the leading Manx artist who was to become a life-long friend and whose portrait he painted in later life. In the 1881 census, Morrison described himself as an artist in crayon. A decade later, he was calling himself a portrait painter. Morrison painted many of the dignitaries of Liverpool, Lancashire and the Isle of Man, including the Lord Mayor of Liverpool and the Manx novelist Hall Caine. On his return visits to the Isle of Man, he often painted landscapes though it is as a sympathetic portrait painter he will be remembered, producing sensitive and pleasing portraits of his sitters that at the time ensured his popularity and success.

By a very capable hand, this is a salient portrait of a woman of high standing.