William Edward Millner – A Lincolnshire Artist
The Victorian genre painting was a move towards illustrating everyday life, often featuring figures without specific identity or story. This change of fashion away from the previous portrait and landscape styles gave artists the ability to show all classes in their surroundings with the lives of the working people, in particular, being popular.
William Edward Millner is Lincolnshire’s Victorian genre artist. Born in Gainsborough in 1849, the son of a local teacher and artist, Millner was to live and work in the county until his death in 1895. With his life falling directly within the Victorian era his artistic work shows a concentration of influences from both his surroundings and the leading artists of the genre. This talent was recognised within his lifetime as his pictures were shown several times at the Royal Academy and since, with his works being held by leading public art galleries and a significant collection housed at Gainsborough Old Hall Museum.
The four works illustrated have been sold recently or are awaiting sale within Golding Young Thos Mawer Auctioneers specialist fine art sales. Typical of Millner’s work, they show country figures, rustic labourers, Lincolnshire village life and of course horses, for which he is possibly most admired.