While the Cat is Away

by Edward John Gregory


He first made his mark as a painter with the oil painting Dawn (now in the possession of John Singer Sargent, RA), originally shown at Deschamps’ gallery in 1879. Much of his best work appeared at the exhibitions of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, of which he was elected associate in 1871 and member in 1876. He succeeded Sir James Linton as president in 1898. From 1875 to 1882, his contributions to the Academy were mainly portraits, including that of Duncan McLaren MP, a replica of which is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. During his trip to Italy in 1882 he visited Capri and painted a beautiful picture of the Gardens of Augustus and Mount Solaro. As early as 1883, he was elected with Macbeth to the associateship, and he became academician in 1898, after the completion and exhibition of his Boulter’s Lock: Sunday Afternoon, a work which hardly justified the years of elaboration spent upon it.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 101.6 x 127.0 cm/40.0 x 50.0 ins
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 5141 Categories: ,

Edward John Gregory was an illustrator and painter of genre and portraits.

Born in Southampton he entered the drawing office of the P & O Steamship Co., but decided to become an artist. He studied at the Royal Cambrian Academy in London and later at the Royal Academy Schools.

His most famous work is “Boulter’s Lock : Sunday Afternoon”, which obtained for him his election as RA in 1898.

Private collection, United Kingdom

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Gregory was born in Southampton on 19 April 1850. He was grandson of John Gregory, engineer-in-chief of the auxiliary engines in Sir John Franklin’s last Arctic expedition, and was eldest child (in a family of three sons and five daughters) of Edward Gregory, a ship’s engineer, and Mary Ann Taylor.

On leaving Dr. Cruikshank’s private school at fifteen he entered the drawing-office, in his native town, of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, in whose employ his father sailed. He had set his mind upon being a painter. Making the acquaintance at Southampton of Hubert von Herkomer RA, whose family had settled there, he started a life-class with him.

In 1869, Gregory went to London, and with Herkomer joined the South Kensington Art School. Subsequently, he studied for a short time at the Royal Academy Schools. He was soon employed in the decorations of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and in 1871, with his friends Herkomer and Robert Walker Macbeth, began working for The Graphic, which had just been started by William Luson Thomas. Gregory at first contributed sketches from the theatre, but soon freely transcribed sketches sent home from the French army at the front by Mr. Sydney P. Hall.

In 1876 he married Mary Joyner. From 1909 until his death, Gregory was president of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists. He died at his residence, Brompton House, Great Marlow, on 22 June 1909, and was buried in Great Marlow churchyard.

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