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George Pyne (1800-1884)

George Pyne (1800-1884)

Though overshadowed in his early career by the artistic achievements of his father and father-in- law, George Pyne came into his own as a precise, and sometimes intense, architectural draughtsman.

London-born George Pyne developed as an artist under the influence of his father, William Henry Pyne, and his father-in-law, John Varley, both of whom were founder members of the Society of Painters in Water Colours. He exhibited landscapes, particularly of Kent, at the Society of British Artists and the Society of Painters in Water Colours, becoming an associate member of the latter in 1827. He gradually widened the range of his subject matter, by contributing, with his father and his younger brother, Charles Claude Pyne, to Lancashire Illustrated (1831), and by living and working in Tavistock, Devon (1837-39).

According to some reports, Pyne put a strain on his marriage to Esther Varley by frequenting ‘the worst sinks of vice’ (Alfred T Story, James Holmes and John Varley, London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1894, page 278). As a result, his relationship with the Varley family seems to have ended on the death of his father-in-law in 1842. Then, on the death of his own father a year later, he resigned from the Society of Painters in Water Colours. In 1858, Esther would take advantage of a new law in order to divorce Pyne (and in 1859 marry Charles Willesford of Tavistock, Devon).

Pyne worked increasingly as an architectural draughtsman, specialising in depictions of the colleges of Oxford, his home from the 1850s. He also produced images of Cambridge and Eton, and published related drawing manuals:
A Rudimentary and Practical Treatise on Perspective for Beginners (1848) and Practical Rules on Drawing for the Operative Builder, and Young Student in Architecture (1854). His last known address, recorded in the 1881 Census, was 7 Christ Church Buildings, Oxford.

His work is represented in the collections of the V&A.

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