The children are identified as David Cecil Lycett Green (1892-1960), Edward Arthur Lycett Green, later 3rd Baronet, (1886-1941), Nancy Lycett Green (1888-1970) and Pyllis Mary Lycett Green (1890-1954).
Charles Wellington Furse was born at Staines, Middlesex on the 13th January 1868, the third son of Charles Wellington Furse, vicar of Staines and later Archdeacon of Westminster and Jane Diane Monsell.
It was during a bout of serious illness at the age of seven that Furse first displayed his artistic talent, illustrating the Scott novels which he read voraciously with sketches of strong movement and vigour. Furse was sent to Haileybury where he remained until he was sixteen leaving to go to the Slade School, studying under Alphonse Legros in 1884. At the Slade, Furse won the Slade Scholarship within a year of his entrance, but this early success was cut short by another bout of the desease which was end his short but impressive career - tuberculosis.
Although suffering the setbacks of continued illness Furse continued to paint and was to leave the Slade with the highest honours to join the Academie Julian in Paris. After returning from Paris he studied for a short time under Fred Brown at the Westminster School of Art. It was after leaving the Westminster School of Art that Furse then started on his short but impressive career as a painter and lecturer.
Furse made many lectures on art and in 1894 was to lecture on Velazquez, Rembrandt and Van Dyck; in 1895 on Hogarth, Gainsborough and Reynolds; in 1897 British portrait painters Reynolds, Romney, Gainsborough etc.; and in 1899 on Watts and Keene. During this period Furse was also painting but this spell of high pressured work was interupted again by illness and the death of Eleanor Butcher to whom Furse was engaged. In 1896 Furse was advised to go the South Africa by his doctors and on returning to England he set about painting sporting subjects such as the 'John Lawrence' and 'Blandy Jenkins'. Furse moved to Yockley House in Camberely and it was here keeping horses and with fine views over the countryside that he was to produce the large broad canvases that in the last three years of his life would make him famous - the 'Return from the Ride', 'Sir John Jervis', 'Diana of the Uplands' and the present picture 'Cubbing with the York and Ainsty'.
In 1900 Furse married Katherine Symonds on the 16th October at St.Margaret's Westminster, they had two sons, the second born three days before Furse died from the life long illness of tuberculosis on the 15th October 1904, aged 36. He was buried in Frimley churchyard.
In the following correspondance Furse discusses the commission from Sir Edward Lycett Green for 'Cubbing with the York and Ainsty', and in a letter from Katherine Furse (the artist's widow) to Sir Edward, Mrs. Furse talks about the payment and her husband.
To Sir Edward Lycett Green from Charles Wellington Furse
I would be delighted to do your grandchildren in the sort of picture you suggest - a group always appeals to me a great more than a single portrait - I am sure we could scheme a pleasant picture in the times you suggest.
I return from my fishing holiday in a week and could come up to town any day in the last fortnight of August to see you or we could arrange matters by letter. I suppose you suggest a life size group ? couldn't some of the children be on ponies ? it makes such a delightful thing to deal with and I think the fact things I have best drawn have been equestrian portraits in some form or another. You do not ask me about prices but you would probably wish to know my prices.
they are: 200 for a 1/2 length
300 3/4 length
400 full length
for a group of two full lengths I charge 600, for three 700, in this case I would gladly come to a private arrangement that would eventually suit us.
Yours very kindly
Charles W. Furse
From Charles Wellington Furse to his wife, London, summer 1904
The picture moves, and the children are almost finished, and to-day I get a bay horse into the room, and hope to get ahead with that. It is exciting, as he will have to mount half a dozen steps, and I am a little alarmed lest he he will put an erring hind leg through the canvas. I am staying on to finish as far as may be - the hounds and bay horse and the head of the little girl's horse, part of which shows. Two hounds will come in the foreground.
Katherine Furse to Sir Edward Lycett Green, 3 January 1905
Dear Sir Edward
Thank you very much for your cheque of 630 which I received today in payment of my husband's picture of your grandchildren.
It was very good of you to make it guineas instead of pounds - I hardly know how to express my thanks to you.
Would you like a more formal receipt on our Yockley paper to stick on the back of the picture ? I do not know what is the best thing to do. Charles pratically never signed his pictures unless specially asked to do so.
The name you propose is much the jolliest possible. I always feel grateful to you all for the pleasure painting this picture gave to Charles. I think he was more pleased with it than any other.
His friend and fellow artist John Singer Sargent wrote on the death of Charles Wellington Furse:
'When one realizes the short span of years that was allowed to Charles Furse, one is impressed by the stride with which towards the last he neared some very high aim.'
An additonal letter included in an envelope addressed to Sir Edward Green Bart, Ken Hill, Kings Lynn, Norfolk and Tresurers House, York, stamped 22 November '04.
The letter from Katherine Furse to Sir Edward Green, dated 21 November 1904. From Sutton Place by Guilford Surrey and is inscribed in ink
Dear Sir Edward,
Will you wait a week or two before paying me for the picture as I have to take over the administrationship before anything can be done. Charles hardly ever signed his pictures and your idea of pasting the bill to the back is a very good one. Thank you for writing as you do. I wish your plan could have come off. Charles would have enjoyed it as he was always so keen about everything he did.
I was hoping you would let the picture go to the R.A. next spring and also that you will send it to me when there is an exhibition of Charles's work. Your picture is the one of ..... essentially his own work. I believe he would have carried on that form of portrait painting much further had he had time.
I shall be very glad to have a photograph.