A member of a well-known family of artists, Edward Angelo Goodall established his individuality by recording the places and people that he encountered on wide-ranging travels. These included an early expedition to British Guiana (1841-44) and a commission from The Illustrated London News to cover the Crimean War (1854-55). Increasingly, he became associated with scenes of the Mediterranean, from Gibraltar to Constantinople, and especially Venice, which he visited on 15 occasions. His work is restrained, meticulous yet often luminous.
Edward Angelo Goodall was born in London on 8 June 1819, the eldest of the ten children of the Yorkshire-born engraver and painter, Edward Goodall, and his wife, Eliza (née Le Petit). Four of his siblings also became artists: Alfred, Eliza, Walter and, most famously, Frederick.
At the time of his birth, the family was living at 20 Arlington Street (now Arlington Road), Camden Town. In 1823, it moved to 11 Lower Platt Place, also in Camden Town, and then, in 1827, to Mornington Grove Cottage, Mornington Grove, Hampstead Road (which Edward Goodall had especially built).
Edward Angelo Goodall was educated at University School, London, and then began an apprenticeship in engraving with his father. He painted in his spare time, and was encouraged by such visitors to his home as J MW Turner, David Roberts and – a close neighbour – Clarkson Stanfield (all of whom had their work engraved by Edward Goodall). Stanfield was particularly impressed by his watercolour of the landing of the Lord Mayor at Blackfriars Bridge, which he produced in 1836, at the age of 17, and which was awarded a silver medal by the Society of Arts. As a result, his father allowed him to pursue a career as a painter.
In 1841, Goodall began to exhibit (initially showing views of Caen in Normandy) at leading London galleries, including the British Institution, the Royal Academy of Arts and the Society of British Arts. However, in July of that year, he joined the Schomburgk Guinea Boundary Expedition, led by Robert Schomburgk, which intended to map the boundaries of British Guiana, in South America. He replaced W L Walton as the expedition’s official artist, Walton having pulled out when Schomburgk’s brother, the botanist, Richard, contracted yellow fever. Over the following three years, he produced watercolours of both botanical subjects (which would be exhibited in Berlin) and indigenous tribes (which were shown in London and Paris). The watercolours were later donated to the Colonial Office (and are now in the collections of the British Library, along with letters and a journal).
On his return to England in 1844, Goodall took up oil painting, and from 1845 exhibited an oil annually at the RA, the first being Landing Place to an Indian Village, British Guiana, South America (No 582), which was admired by Turner. He made many sketching tours in Europe and North Africa, sometimes in the company of other artists, and took in France, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. Venice was a favourite destination, and he visited it 15 times.
In 1854, Goodall was commissioned by The Illustrated London News to visit the Crimea, and record the events of the war between Russia and the alliance comprising Britain, France, Sardinia and the Ottoman Empire. Arriving in the December, he spent a year in the region attached to the Naval Brigade Headquarters, and recorded key events in 65 watercolours. On departing, he went to Rome to paint.
In 1858, Goodall married Frances Chittenden, the daughter of the gentleman farmer, Andrew Chittenden, of The West Court, Detling, Kent. They settled at 24 St George’s Square (now Chalcot Square), Primrose Hill, and would have four sons and seven daughters. When the family moved to 57 Fitzroy Road, by 1865, Goodall retained his St George’s Square address as a studio. He was elected an associate of the Society of Painters in Water Colours in 1858, and a member in 1864, and it increasingly became the main showcase for his work. He continued to undertake sketching tours and to exhibit well into the 1880s.
Edward Angelo Goodall died in London on 16 April 1908, and was buried at Highgate Cemetery. A studio sale was held at Christie, Manson & Woods on 30 November 1908. His work is represented in numerous public collections, including the British Library and the V&A.
Further reading: Richard Goodall, The Goodall Family of Artists, www.goodallartists.ca; Michael St John-McAlister, ‘Edward Angelo Goodall (1819-1908): An Artist’s Travels in British Guiana and the Crimea’, Electronic British Library Journal, 2010, Article 5