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James Hayllar (British painter) 1829 - 1920

James Hayllar began his career as a portrait painter and started to send his work to the Royal Academy in 1851, continuing to exhibit until 1898. He was born in Chichester in 1829, and his family were of Sussex yeoman stock, originally Quakers and proud to be related to Richard Cobden. When a young man Hayllar showed talent for drawing and modelling and took lessons from the local artist called Joy. With the usual reluctance of Victorian parents, Hayllar's father agreed to send him to Cary's Art School in London. Francis Stephen Cary was a respectable historical painter, who took over the Henry Sass's Academy in Bloomsbury in 1842. He is now remembered as a teacher, as his pupils included many young artists later to become famous, including John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. On completing his studies Hayllar made a tour of the continent, where he encountered Frederic Leighton in Rome in 1851. Between 1857 and 1868 he seems to have tried his hand at literary and genre painting, and produced some very charming observations of Victorian life. During this period Hayllar painted some of his most important works, including The Queens Highway in the Sixteenth Century of 1864, Queen Elizabeth's Toothache of 1865 and Miss Lilly's Carriage Stops the Way in 1866, which was highly praised when exhibited at the Royal Academy. After these successes William Powell Frith and Eyre Crowe proposed him as an associate to the Royal Academy, but he missed election by one vote and never tried again. In 1865 he submitted pictures to the Academy from Carlton Rockery, near Saxmundham in Suffolk, whilst a decade later he moved to Castle Priory, on the banks of the Thames, near Wallingford in Berkshire. He was to live here until after the death of his wife, and his move to Bournemouth in 1899. Hayllar had four sons and five daughters, four of whom, Edith Hayllar (1860–1948), Jessica Hayllar (1858–1940), Mary Hayllar (1863-ca. 1950), and Kate Hayllar (1864-1959), became notable artists in their own right; all received their training from their father and exhibited at the Royal Academy. * * * Jessica Hayllar (British painter) 1858 - 1940 A painter primarily of figure subjects, particularly featuring children, interiors and flowers, Jessica Hayllar came from a family well steeped in artistic tradition and was the daughter of artist James Hayllar, RBA (1829-1920). Like her sisters, Kate and Mary, Jessica studied under her father whose penchant for Pre-Raphaelite realism and colouring was to be extremely influential in her formative years. Jessica made her Exhibition debut in 1879 and frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1880 and 1915. Her best work, executed between 1885-1900 typically depicts quiet domestic scenes, with closely observed detail demonstrating a great naturalness and charm. These paintings were mainly executed at her Father's House, Castle Priory in Wallingford on the Thames. In 1900, Jessica was crippled in an accident and after this date she concentrated on painting only flower subjects, particularly featuring Azaleas. * * * Edith Hayllar (British painter) 1860 - 1948 * * * Mary Hayllar (British painter) 1863 – 1950 Mary Wells, née Hayllar, was one of the four artistic daughters of James Hayllar. Mary was perhaps the least prolific, and only exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1880 to 1885, mainly still lives and child subjects. After her marriage to Henry Wells in 1887 she seems to have given up painting, and borne several children, each of whom found ready employment as models by their aunts. Mary was highly accomplished however, and like her sisters, she delighted in recording the domestic life of the Berkshire countryside, as lived at her parents' house, Castle Priory, Wallingford. Tables laid with an enticing looking tea are a leitmotif found in all their work.


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