Portsmouth City Museum will be opening their new exhibition Edward King: A Life in Art this Friday (25th March), with displays of the city art collection’s many paintings plus other archived items and photographs from the painter’s Portsmouth period. Edward King originally studied art (and the violin) in Leipzig. On return to England, he focused painting, particularly in watercolour, with his illustrations began to appear in journals such as Punch and the Illustrated London News. By 1904 he had exhibited 54 paintings at the Royal Academy. Edward King is often considered to be amongst the most important British painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with his work known and respected by both Whistler and an inspiration for Van Gogh.
King moved to South Harting near Petersfield in 1884 where he eventually married. Sadly in 1924 Edward’s wife Amelia died of consumption and the painter suffered a breakdown and was committed to St James Hospital in 1925, where he lived until he died of a stroke in 1951. During his time at the hospital, Edward King would draw & paint as an early form of art therapy. Over the years he became a familiar figure in the Milton area, painting scenes of houseboats by Milton Locks or the hospital farm. Many of these Milton paintings depict the area as it was, a rural, quiet & idilic corner of the then rapidly growing city.
Edward King became much more active locally after the Blitz, when Denis Daley the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth commissioned the painter to document the bomb damage to the city. King went out each day and painted a series of over 30 scenes that graphically show the war torn state of the city. Many of these paintings will be on display in this new exhibition.
As well as the exhibition Portsmouth City Museum will be running a series of events, workshops and other participation activities themed around the work of Edward King.
Don’t forget, admission is free for the museum and for this exhibition!