Monday, April 27, 2015

George Henry: The "Glasgow Boy" Years

George Henry (1858–1943) was a prominent member of a group of Scottish painters known as the Glasgow Boys. The "Boys" were strongly influenced by the French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage whose works were exhibited in London 1878-82. Glasgow Boys paintings tended to be toned-down, featuring earth colors such as browns, ochres, faded greens and such -- in line with what northern Europe offered in dreary terms of light and foliage for a good part of the year.

Not much biographical information on Henry was on the Internet when I drafted this post, so make do with this brief Wikipedia entry. More can be found in Roger Billcliffe's book about the Glasgow Boys.

I find Henry and most other "Boys" interesting because their works show us that there was a lot more going on in the art world of the 1880s than the Impressionism and post-impressionism in France that histories of art still focus on.


Brig o' Turk - 1882

Eyemouth - 1883
Two fairly early landscapes.

Noon - 1885
One of Henry's best-known paintings.

The Hedgecutter - 1886

Autumn - 1888
The brushwork, color usage and clutter suggests the influence of E.A. Hornell, a fellow Glasgow Boy. They spent a year and a half in Japan around 1894 and jointly painted "The Druids" (see below).

Galloway Landscape - 1889
This somewhat distorted and decorative painting is considered significant by art historians and critics because of its use of modernist elements.

Barr, Ayreshire - 1891
Another painting with more modernist influence than usual for Henry. By the early 1900s he reverted to a more traditional painting style, even eliminating Glasgow Boys elements.

Poppies - 1891

Rowans - 1895
Henry and Hornell made paintings featuring young girls. Henry did this for a comparatively short time, but the latter part of Hornell's career was largely based on such subject matter.

The Druids: Bringing in the Mistletoe - 1890
A work jointly painted with Hornell. This painting has always fascinated me, so I visit it whenever I'm in Glasgow.


Barbara Gilmartin said...

Did this artist ever sign his work "George H. Evans?" I have come across two pieces belonging to my great aunt who lived in San Diego, and collected art during her life there. I've not found any information on George H. Evans, though his style is very similar to George Henry.

Donald Pittenger said...

Barbara -- I don't know for sure, though I think not. I suggest you contact Glasgow's Roger Billcliffe Gallery (, because Billcliffe literally "wrote the book" on the Glasgow Boys. I'm not sure if he is still active at the gallery (he looked retirement age when I poked my head in the door several years ago), but the staff should be able to inform you.