Henry Gillard Glindon, ARWS RBA (1852-1913), known as 'Henry Gillard Glindoni' Henry Gillard Glindoni was a Victorian historical genre artist who specialised in seventeenth and eighteenth century costume paintings. His working life began early after he was orphaned, and his training and experience were subsequently varied. Glindoni’s paradigmatic pictures with their period subject matter and theatrical composition were popular with the exhibiting societies of the day, including the Royal Academy, and were regularly reproduced as historical illustrations in national publications. Henry Gillard Glindon was born in Kennington Lane, London, in 1852, to Robert William Glindon and his wife, Esther (née Gillard). In later life, he changed his surname to Glindoni. His early childhood was unsettled as he and his five siblings were tragically orphaned at a young age.
Glindon and two of his brothers were subsequently sent to live with their paternal grandfather, Robert Glindon, a widower, who was listed as a ‘musical decorative artist’ in the 1861 census.
Glindon’s early artistic life began in the theatre where he assisted his grandfather, who was a scenery painter. This early theatrical influence can be seen in the meticulous detail of Glindon’s costume paintings and later historical genre works such as John Dee Performing an Experiment before Queen Elizabeth I (Wellcome Collection). He began working with his grandfather from the age of 14, and was encouraged to study art; he also supplemented his income by drawing portraits of actors and other workers in the theatre. In common with many young artists, he was engaged with the new medium of photography as it rose to prominence as an art form, and began working for various photographers, such as Valentine Blanchard. He worked for Blanchard colouring photographic prints and painting on porcelain. Examples of his early photography are held at the Valence House Museum, Dagenham.
Whilst employed in various artistic trades, Glindon attended F D Maurice’s Working Men’s College, and undertook formal training at the Castle Street School of Art, an early manifestation of Saint Martin’s School of Art. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1873 with a picture entitled The Lost Sheep whilst he was living at 40 Brewer Street, Soho. He continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy almost every year until 1904, becoming known for painting military subjects and seventeenth and eighteenth century costume pictures that evoke a Regency world of theatrical splendour. Critics of the day particularly noted his depiction of Cardinals.
By 1877, Glindon had changed his name to Glindoni and had begun signing his pictures, ‘H G Glindoni’, as he did on the present example, The Geographer. Towards the later 1870s, his success and popularity rapidly grew. In 1879, he became a full member of the Society of British Artists and, in 1883, he was elected an Associate of the Royal Society of Painters in Water-Colours. He exhibited frequently at the Royal Society of British Artists, in London, and at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, and the Manchester City Art Gallery. Many of his historical paintings were reproduced as engravings in the publications of the day, such as Only a Penny, published in The Pall Mall Magazine, illustrating an eighteenth century showman operating a peepshow.
In 1881, Glindoni is listed as living at 2 Bramerton Street, Chelsea, with his wife Ruth and a daughter, born in 1880, named Esther, possibly after his mother. His occupation is recorded as ‘Artist (Painter)’ and the surname given is Glindon. This transition to family life was a productive time for Glindoni; in both 1878 and 1879 he exhibited two pictures at the Royal Academy, and three in 1880, whilst maintaining a presence at exhibitions across the country.
By 1899, Glindoni moved to Chadwell Heath, Essex, with his wife, Ruth, and daughter, Esther, who was by now a school teacher. They moved to a new house, which remains to this day on the junction of Mill Lane and Whalebone Lane North. (His adjacent studio is now a newsagent).
Glindoni died at home on 20 November 1913, and is buried in Crow Lane cemetery. His diary and papers are held in the Dagenham Public Library.
His work is represented in numerous public collections, including Valence House Museum (Dagenham).
The biography of Henry Gillard Glindoni is written by Sasha Morse