This head and shoulders portrait depicts Warrington artist George Sheffield in three-quarters profile wearing a white shirt and a dark waistcoat. Hailed by some twentieth-century critics as 'one of the foremost painters that Warrington produced', others described him as one of 'the most boring painters of the last century'. Even his friends felt that he did himself no favours by mass-producing hastily drawn sketches, often to pay off debts or for a bet.
Born in Cumbria, George moved to Warrington at an early age. He lived at the Feathers Hotel in Bridge Street where his father, Thomas, was landlord. After studying at Warrington School of Art he moved to Manchester with the intention of becoming a calico designer but went to sea soon after completing his apprenticeship. After settling at Betts-y-Coed in 1861 George became a full-time artist and produced a number of paintings of North Wales and seascapes. He contributed paintings to exhibitions in Liverpool and Manchester, becoming a member of the Royal Academy in 1871 and exhibiting in a variety of London exhibitions during the 1870s. He briefly returned to Manchester and then to Warrington before dying in poverty in 1892.
Where to see this painting?
Warrington Museum & Art Gallery
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