20th Century British Art

Joseph Southall (1861–1944)

Southall was born in Nottingham of Quaker parents, and was taken by his mother to Birmingham when his father died the following year. In i874 he entered the Friends' School. Bootham, where he was taught painting by Edwin Moore (brother of Albert and Henry). Four years later he joined the Birmingham firm of architects, Martin and Chamberlain, but in 1882 he left to concentrate on painting, attending the Birmingham School of Art where he met A J Gaskin, henceforth his closest friend, and other members of the Birmingham Group. About the same time he set­tied at 13 Charlotte Road, Edgbaston, his home for the rest of his life. In 1883 he spent eight weeks in Italy, absorbing the early masters, and on his return he began to experiment with tempera. Meanwhile, through an uncle, he had made the acquaintance of Ruskin, who commissioned him to design a museum for the Guild of St George at Bewdlev (1885); this came to nothing but took him again to Italy. He also received encouragement from W B Richmond and Burne Jones, to whom he paid visits in London (1893-7). In 1895 he began to exhibit at the RA (Car. 72), showing there till 1942, while also support­ing the New Gallery (1897-19o9), the RBSA (Associ­ate 1898. member 1902) and the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society shows (1899-1923). In 1901, together with J D Batten, Walter Crane and others, he helped to found the Society of Painters in Tempera, and he was undoubtedly the single most important exponent of the tempera revival. Though never, like so many members of the Birmingham Group, on the staff of the local Art School, he gave lessons on tempera painting in his Edgbaston studio and lectured on the subject widely. As well as literary figure subjects, he painted genre scenes, portraits and landscapes; his wife Anna Elizabeth, a first cousin whom he married in 19o3, appears in many of his pictures, and often helped to decorate their elaborate gilded frames. Southall was a leading figure among Birmingham Quakers, a Socialist and pacifist; he campaigned vigorously against the conduct of the Great War, during which he painted the fresco of 'Cor­poration Street, Birmingham, in March 1914', on the stair­case of the Birmingham Art Gallery, (completed in 1916). In later life he joined the NEAC and RWS (1925), participated in joint exhibitions with other Birmingham and tempera painters, held a number of one-man shows (notably at the Alpine Club 1922), and, building on the success of an exhibition at the Galeries Georges Petit in Paris in 1910, established a considerable inter­national reputation. He and his wife paid frequent visits to Italy, sometimes with Charles and Margaret Gere; also to France, Southwold and Fowey, where he found many subjects. In 1933 he was appointed Professor of Painting at the RBSA (President 1939), and in 1937 began a fresco in the Council House. It was not, however, completed; that August he under­went a major operation and never fully recovered, dying in 1944. A memorial exhibition was held at Bir­mingham, the RWS and Bournemouth the following year.


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Artist Joseph Southall: Sheet of portrait studies of Sir William Blake Richmond, 25.X.1886

Joseph Southall
Sheet of portrait studies of Sir...
£650
Artist Joseph Southall: Young girl seated on a wall, Ludlow, 16.VI.1916

Joseph Southall
Young girl seated on a wall
£1475
Artist Joseph Southall: Bessie at her work table, 22.III.1908

Joseph Southall
Bessie at her work table, 22.III.1908
£1500
Artist Joseph Southall: Woman gathering beach grass 1.VIII.1886

Joseph Southall
Woman gathering beach grass 1.VIII.1886
£1900
Artist Joseph Southall: Flower Studies, Bewdley, 20.IV.1897

Joseph Southall
Flower Studies, Bewdley, 20.IV.1897
£960
Artist Joseph Southall: Fashionable Lady, 15.IV.1916

Joseph Southall
Fashionable Lady, 15.IV.1916
£960
Artist Joseph Southall: Sable Fur, 26.III.1910

Joseph Southall
Sable Fur, 26.III.1910
£1100
Artist Joseph Southall: Study of women with hats and child

Joseph Southall
Study of women with hats and child
£900
Artist Joseph Southall: Toddle, 25 December 1927

Joseph Southall
Toddle, 25 December 1927
£790
Artist Joseph Southall: Bessie in profile, 17.X.1916

Joseph Southall
Bessie in profile, 17.X.1916Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: Fowey, VIII 1897

Joseph Southall
Fowey, VIII 1897Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: On the Beach, Southwold, 24.VI.1906

Joseph Southall
On the Beach, Southwold, 24.VI.1906Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: Peacock looking right,14.VI.1900

Joseph Southall
Peacock looking right,14.VI.1900Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: Peacock looking left, 14.VI.1900

Joseph Southall
Peacock looking left, 14.VI.1900Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: Head of a Peacock, 11 IX 1900

Joseph Southall
Head of a Peacock, 11 IX 1900Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: Lewis P., 14 July 1920

Joseph Southall
Lewis P., 14 July 1920Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: Dante, 6 March 1913

Joseph Southall
Dante, 6 March 1913Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: SALON, 19 may 1912

Joseph Southall
SALON, 19 may 1912Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: Matinee train, 1930

Joseph Southall
Matinee train, 1930Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: The Agate (Portrait of the Artist and his Wife), 1911

Joseph Southall
The Agate (Portrait of the Artist...Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: Portrait of a blonde hair girl with a white ribbon, 1908

Joseph Southall
Portrait of a blonde hair girl with...Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: Five sketchbook sheets, circa 1916

Joseph Southall
Five sketchbook sheets, circa 1916Sold 
Artist Joseph Southall: Bacchus and Ariadne, circa 1912

Joseph Southall
Bacchus and Ariadne, circa 1912Sold