George Elgar Hicks RA

I’m grateful for the question about the identity of the sitters in the portrait over the fireplace in my study, because I’ve never paid it the attention it probably deserves.   Hicks was a classic, successful Victorian RA:  trained in the RA Schools, where he won prizes for his studies after the antique;  worked as an illustrator;  exhibited every year in the Summer Exhibition;  became well known for big subject paintings, beginning with Dividend Day, Bank of England, shown in 1859, which were very popular with the public, but regarded as vulgar by the critics.   By the 1870s, he had moved into the realm of society portraiture, of which my great grandmother’s portrait with her first child is probably a good example – immaculately well painted, as if in the style of the Old Masters, Reynolds especially, but a tiny bit saccharine, designed to appeal, as it no doubt did, to my ardently evangelical, philanthropic and, I suspect, fairly philistine great grandfather (it would have cost something over 300 guineas):-


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