Arthur John Elsley (1860-1952)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more Property from an Important Private Collection
Arthur John Elsley (1860-1952)


Arthur John Elsley (1860-1952)
signed and dated 'ARTHUR J. ELSLEY/1914' (lower left) and inscribed 'No. 182h' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
36 x 27 in. (91.5 x 68.6 cm.)
with Richard Green, London, 1996, where purchased by the present owner.
T. Parker, Golden Hours: The Paintings of Arthur J. Elsley 1860-1952, Somerset, 1998, p. 125, as The War Horse, illustrated p. 88.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

Born in 1860, the son of a coachman, Arthur John Elsley joined the South Kensington School of Art at the age of fourteen. He submitted his first exhibit to the Royal Academy in 1878 and continued to paint thereafter until 1917. Elsley was among the most beloved and commercially sought after artists of late Victorian England. His idealised depictions of the lives of children and animals appealed to the middle and upper classes of society, and his work also gained popularity through chromolithographic reproductions. Reproduction rights to Elsley’s work were so eagerly sought after that print companies often competed to buy the copyright to his paintings. His paintings were routinely reproduced for use in colour calendars published by the American firm Thomas D. Murphy Company, soap advertisers, as well as for the cover of publications such as Bibby's Quarterly.
In Gee Up, Elsley depicts four young children playing at home, with the smallest child riding on the back of her older brother. Another child has fashioned makeshift reigns, mischievously encouraging her brother to make haste. The dog was used by Elsely as a model for two further works, Here They Are, and Goodnight. Terry Parker notes that it ‘arrived at his studio with its hair tied in tapes which Emm had to undo before Elsley could paint it’ (T. Parker, op.cit., p. 125). The green dress with the trim of roses worn by the girl on the left belonged to Marjorie, Elsley's only child, born in 1903, who modelled for many of his most celebrated paintings. However, only her dress appears here and Marjorie didn't model for any of the figures.

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