Cherubs

rubs, 1899
Edward Atkinson Hornel (1864-1933)
Oil on panel
BORGM 01105
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Cherubs

Throughout his career Edward Hornel was firmly rooted in the Scottish town of Kirkcudbright.  Although he was born in Australia, he returned to his parents’ home town of Kirkcudbright, as a young child and set up his studio there after studying in Edinburgh and Antwerp.

He became associated with the “Glasgow Boys” group, and many of the friends he made in the art world visited him in Kirkcudbright. A painter of landscape, flowers and foliage he was strongly influenced by Japanese art, spending eighteen months in the country in 1893-4.

During the latter part of his career, he specialised in painting pictures of young girls in decorative scenes at the seashore or in woodland. A device he often used, which you see here, was to create a flattened perspective. His use of colours and texture meant that the children seem to blend in with their surroundings. The ‘cherubs’ in this painting are clearly children rather than the order of angels.

These paintings were extremely popular at the time because of their sentimentality and made Hornel prosperous. His home in Kirkcudbright is now a museum dedicated to his life and work.

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