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Despite his lack of formal training, George was selected to exhibit at the Royal Academy at just 19 years of age, where he continued to exhibit most years for the rest of his life.
He is well remembered for his illustrations for a variety of books, magazines and journals, including well-known children’s literature Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Water Babies, Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare, Arabian Nights and Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
As well as being a talented artist, George had a deep love and respect for the British countryside and the animals and people who called it home. He soon became fascinated with the relationship between man and the working horse. He fully immersed himself in the daily work of agricultural labourers, fascinated by the shared toil between the men and their faithful companions.
By joining the workers as they toiled, he keenly observed the complex and trusted relationships between man and horse. His art captures the very essence of this bond and the power exerted in their struggle to tame the landscape.
By 1907, the couple had bought a plot of land in Hertfordshire and begun to build their family home. Featuring an enormous studio, the house would come to be known as ‘Wildings’, so named by the sisters. George would soon make it his principal duty to educate the young Eva and Eileen in his craft, enabling them to achieve their own continued success long after his death in 1942.
His artwork, displayed in The Soper Collection for all to enjoy and cherish, tells a story of a wild land and man’s struggles to tame and cultivate it. It tells of man’s love for, and partnership with, the working horse, a tradition long-forgotten but reinvigorated in this stunning collection.
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