Charles Barber is considered one of England’s finest genre and animal painters; Charles Burton Barber was a prolific and early talented artist and achieved great success during his lifetime, painting works that appealed directly to both the newly emerging British professional upper middle classes and the established collectors of fine art, the British Royal Family. By the age of 18, Barber had moved from his native Great Yarmouth on the East coast and was in England’s capital London studying at the Royal Academy School. In 1864 he obtained a silver medal for drawing from the antique and in 1866 he exhibited his first work at the Royal Academy (RA) while living in Notting Hill.
Barber became a highly sought after artist and in the early 1870’s Queen Victoria commissioned him to paint her grandchildren with her favorite dogs. In 1883, the year Off to School was painted; he was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Painters.
In Off to School we find a young, aristocratic girl walking along being escorted and protected by her magnificent St. Bernard .Her left hand is holding her book strap and her right hand gently grasps her dog’s ear. The dog’s size and regal posture gives the young girl a feeling of security that is portrayed in her stance and facial expression. It was barber’s ability to capture these feelings and expressions on canvas that contributed to his great success. In 1894 Barber received a commission to paint Queen Victoria in her pony-carriage surrounded by her grandchildren. This would be his final commission as he passed away soon afterwards.
Many of Barber’s paintings were engraved and he was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy; Royal Institute of Oil Painters; Walker Art Gallery; Manchester City Art Gallery and the Fine Art Society. Barber remains popular to this date; his sentimental warm images are particularly popular with printers and buyers of greetings cards.
To see more images from Barber we recommend our UK Gallery: Ruby Cavalier Fine ArtsGoogle+