Nude on horseback
by George Owen Wynne Apperley

Artist biography

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Born 17 June 1884, in Ventnor (Isle of Wight); died 1960, in Tangier.

Painter, watercolourist. Figure compositions, mythological subjects.

Apperley was born into a military and puritanical family, and had to fight family opposition to his artistic calling. In 1917, he went to live in Granada, Spain. Until then, he had exhibited at the London Royal Academy, followed by the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. On his arrival in Spain in 1917, he was awarded The Fine Arts Circle of Granada's First Prize for The Rose. In 1918, King Alfonso XIII visited his exhibition at the Palace Hotel in Madrid and the State acquired one of his works. From 1932, and during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), he lived in Tangier. In 1945 he was awarded the Order of Alfonso X the Wise. He was made an honorary member of the San Telmo academy of fine art in 1951.

Apperley's early paintings reveal an academic training, particularly in his choice of mythological subjects. In his second period, he retained the mythological subjects, but in a construction greatly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites. His Dream of the Nymphs is typical of this phase, during which he often copied Titian, Rembrandt and Veronese. Having come into contact with a motley crew of Andalusians and gypsies, he abandoned mythological subjects and began to paint local themes, such as The Manilla Coat and Cante Jondo. In the last stage of his life, he returned to painting mythological subjects, while still continuing to handle typical local subjects.

Apperley first exhibited abroad in 1913, at the Salon des Artistes Français in Paris, and also at the Venice Biennale. His paintings were then shown primarily in Spain, most notably in Madrid.