ⓘ George Harcourt (painter)


ⓘ George Harcourt (painter)

From Dumbarton, Scotland, George Harcourt was born in 1868 and died in 1947. Harcourt was a portrait and figure painter, known for painting influential members of society. He studied at the Herkomer School of Art in Bushey from 1889–92 and later went on to become the head of school. He rose to become the President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1945 following a spell as vice-president 1934–45 and was also the Director of the Royal Academy. He first became an associate of the Royal Academy in 1919 ARA and was then elected as an Academician RA in 1926. In 1944 he was elected as a senior Academician Senior RA and became Director of Schools in 1927.

After studying art in Dumbarton, George Harcourt initially worked as an interior decorator of salons and luxury cabins at the local shipyard Denny Brothers Shipbuilding. In 1888 he went to Bushey north of London and enrolled in the Herkomer School of Art. The school, founded by the German-born painter Hubert von Herkomer 1849-1914 in 1883, enjoyed a very good reputation in England at the time and was known for its unconventional educational practice. As one of the best students, Harcourt later became a lecturer at this art school. Later, he taught at the prestigious London Slade School of Fine Art, in which his daughter Anne studied.

Over the years, Harcourts style of painting changed from a Pre-Raphaelite influenced naturalism here mainly genre paintings, more rarely landscapes to an almost photorealistic portraiture. This perfection not only gave him a great reputation among colleagues, but also secured him a good income as a portraitist of the British upper class.

He submitted to the Royal Academy of Arts his diploma thesis A Portrait of Miss Anne Harcourt, this proved he had skills that went beyond the naive kitsch of his earlier years.

In 1893 George Moore reviewed the artworks at the Royal Academy commenting in The New Review, London, on a portrait exhibited there by George Harcourt - At the Window.


1. Paintings

  • 1905: "Melody" exhibited at the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico
  • 1924: Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice the admiral was director of the British secret service of the Royal Navy NID
  • 1920: Portrait of a young girl
  • 1899: Forgiven now in the National Gallery in Adelaide, Australia
  • 1914: George Nathaniel Curzon
  • 1894: Psyche issued in the Royal Exchange in London
  • 1921: Portrait of Miss Anne Harcourt his daughter later became his pupil
  • 1931: The Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Family owned by the Krupp Foundation in the Villa Hugel
  • 1893: At the Window exhibited at the Royal Academy
  • 1910: The Birthday now in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight near Liverpool
  • 1901: Meriel, Cynthia and George Perkins

2. Awards

Harcourt received in 1912 a gold medal at the International Exhibition in Amsterdam. In 1921 he submitted to the jury of the Royal Academy of Art, a portrait of his daughter Anne. He was admitted in 1926 as a full member of the Academy RA. Up to this point he was an Associate Royal Academician ARA, which he had held since 1919. He also briefly became Deputy Director of the Royal Academy Schools. In 1923 he got another gold medal in the exhibition at the Salon de Paris.


3. Exhibitions

The Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts 1927

Memorial Exhibition of George Harcourt and Francis Hodge. Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour 1949.

Stand to your work. Hubert Herkomer and his students. Watford Museum, Watford 1983, ISBN 0-907958-05-2. Catalog of the exhibition in the Watford Museum A passion for work: Sir Hubert von Herkomer 1849-1914, September 1983.