The Card Game

Country of Origin England
Dated c. 1920
Medium Oil on canvas
Signed/Dated Signed lower right
Dimensions 22.00inch wide (55.88 cm wide)
16.00inch high (40.64 cm high)
Framed Dimensions 27.00inch wide (68.58 cm wide)
21.00inch high (53.34 cm high)
Condition Unlined original condition - no restoration

FREDERICK WILLIAM ELWELL R.A. (1870-1958) Biography

Frederick William Elwell was an artist famed for his naturalistic depictions of Victorian life. He trained initially at Lincoln School of Art under the tutelage of Alfred Webster and in 1887 received a bursary that enabled him to spend four years at the academy of Antwerp. Elwell's decision to enrol at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1892 had a profound effect upon both his style and subject matter. Through various encounters with artists such as Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Gauguin, Elwell became increasingly attracted to the techniques of French Impressionism. Subsequently, compositions such as The First Born of 1913 illustrated the artist's newly acquired concern with the qualities of light and colour, and indicated a shift in subject matter away from formal landscape and portraiture, to scenes of everyday domestic life.
After the success of Paris, Elwell moved back to England - first to London before settling in Beverley in Yorkshire in 1896. Such was his popularity with patrons and the buying public that he began to exhibit regularly at the Royal Academy and formed close friendships with artists such as Alfred Munnings and Reginald Brundit. The documentary nature of works such as The Old Inn Kitchen of 1922 served as an antidote to the sentimentality and morality of much Victorian work of the time. Elwell's profile and influence soared so much that he was made an associate of the Royal Academy in 1931 and established an independent studio in London's fashionable Holland Park in 1935. Elwell became a full member of the Royal Academy in 1938 and was also a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. He exhibited from 1894 to 1909 at the Salon des Artistes Français and also at the Royal Academy in London.
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Bournemouth (Russell-Coates Art Gallery and Museum): Inventory and Valuation for Probate (1947, oil on canvas)
Bury (AG and Mus.): The Fish Stall (oil on canvas)
Hull (Ferens Art Gal.): The First Born (1813, oil on canvas); The Landlord (1935, oil on canvas); The Wedding Dress (1911, oil on canvas); The Last Purchase or The New Purchase (1921, oil on canvas); The Housekeeper's Room (oil on panel); In a Bar (1943, oil on canvas)
London (Imperial War Mus.): A Munitions Factory (1944, oil on canvas); A Musical Interlude (1944, oil on canvas)
London (Royal Academy of Arts): The Royal Academy Selection and Hanging Committee 1938 (1938, oil on canvas, competition piece)
London (Tate Collection): The 'Beverley Arms' Kitchen (1919, oil on canvas)
Preston (Harris Mus. and Art Gal.): Girl with a Cigarette (1942, oil on panel); The Curiosity Shop (1929, oil on canvas)
Sheffield (Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust): The New Frock (1919, oil on canvas)


An exceptional oil by Elwell depicting young boys playing cards and smoking by candlelight. An incredibly charming work.


Private UK collection

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