Very British! ~ Memorable Images 32
George Morland
This is the principal George Morland resource on the web

03 April 2004 update

This portrait of Morland by J.R. Smith

Portrait of the British artist George Morland (George Glazer Gallery) - J.R. Smith (1736-1804) with the following eulogy:

Adieu illfated Morland! Foe to gain;
Curs'd be each sordid wretch that caus'd thy pain;
Spite of detraction - long thy envied name
Shall grace the annals of immortal fame

Born on 26 June 1763 in London, the son of the painter H. R. Morland to whom he was first apprenticed for seven years in 1777. He visited Calais and St-Omer in 1785 by which time he was painting sentimental genre scenes, somewhat in the manner of Boilly. In 1786 he married Anne, the sister of William Ward who engraved sixty-nine of Morland's pictures and who married Morland's sister. In the 1790s he turned to rustic genre, but his later years were clouded by reckless self-indulgence. He exhibited intermittently at the SA 1777-91, FS 1775-82, and Royal Academy, London 1773-1804. He died of a brain fever in London on 29 October 1804.

Here are two antique engravings that I have of George Morland's works.

Inside of a country alehouse

Antique engraving of George Morland Painting: "Inside of a Country Alehouse". Engraved by W. Ward.

Innocence Alarm'd

Antique engraving of George Morland Painting: "Innocence Alarm'd". Engraved by R. Smith.

Morland, it may be said was born in a fortunate hour : before the dawn of the eighteenth centuy there was no English art properly so called ; the only painters of eminance were foreigners from the Low Contries, Germany France and Sapin. These laid the foundations of art eduction in this country : they established schools of a kind, and gave English youths of promise instruction ; but for half a century or more, say until 1750, art in England was practically in the hands of aliens.

Then came a very remarkable succession of English painters who reaches the first rank : Reynolds born in 1723, Stubbs 1724, Gainsborough 1729, Romney 1734, Raeburn 1756, Morland 1763, Crome 1769, Turner 1775, constable 1776.

Reynolds and Romney were essentially portrait painters ; Gainsborough, though his fame rests upon portraits, was also a landscape painter, Raeburn, sometimes called "the Scottish Reynolds" was a portrait painter ; Crome, turner, and Constable were landscape painters.

Morland painted rural life. nothing quite like his scenes of peasant and country life had ever been seen before.

Perhaps another quality of Morland's art may have contributed to its popularity ; it was above all things English ; it is quite impossible to mistake Morland's men and women for other than English men and women, or his scenes for scenes outside England.

From George Morland - His life and Works by Sir Walter Gilbey, Bart. Elsenham Hall, July 1907.

I have provided hundreds of G. Morland illustrations over many sequential web pages - start here. I should appreciate any further images to add to my site. 126 pages at June 2005.

Index of pictures (recently updated)

"I possess a Morland and I want to know more": Morland frequently asked questions [ FAQ ]

This may help with some standard questions relating to pictures and their values.

List of Engravings

Chronological catalogue of engravings, etchings, etc., after George Morland, showing the years of their publication, etc. (all were published in London)

Books and Reference

Essential History of British Art - Isabella Steer - ISBN 0-752555-348-8

The Short Bibiliography below appears in George Morland by G.C. Williamson

Collins William: Memoirs of a Painter being a Genuine Biographical Sketch of that celebrated original and eccentric genius, the late Mr. George Morland . . . To which is added, a Copious Appendix, embracing every interesting subject relative to our justly admired English painter, and his most valuable works. 1805

Nettleship J.T: GEORGE MORLAND and the Evolution From Him of Some Later Painters.London, Seeley, 1898

Cuming E. D.: GEORGE MORLAND sixteen examples in colour of the artist's work: A & C Black British Artists 1910

Wilson, David Henry : George Morland. Walter Scott Publishing, 1907

Williamson, George C: George Morland: His Life and Works London George Bell and Sons 1907.

Selwyn: Some reflections of the art of Thomas Rowlandson & George Morland
London: Print Collectors club, 1929.

Gilbey, Sir Walter & Cuming, E D: George Morland; his life and works. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1907

Baily, J. T. Herbert: George Morland; A Biographical Essay, with a Catalogue of the Engraved Pictures  Connoisseur, Otto Limited, 1906.

Dawe George: The life of George Morland with remarks on his works.  London:  4 ills. in text. Author's edition of 500 copies 1807

F. W. Blagdon (1806), J. Hassell (1806). Later biographies are by Ralph Richardson (1895), B.L.K. Henderson (1923), D. Thomas (1954), and D. Winter (PhD, 1978).

Article from "The Connoisseur - July 1904" reproduced at Sterlingtimes here are the eight pages.

Useful bibliography at the end of The Connoisseur article appears here

Artist George Morland's notorious love affair with some of Brent's pubs brought him trouble but left us with some of his best-known paintings. Adapted article by Len Snow.

Morland at Amazon Auctions

Morland at zShops

Morland at Abe Books. Click here and search on "george morland"

Morland at ebay


Morland images at Altavista - This carries presently 533 illustrations mainly from my site. This is a quick way of viewing my images.

Morland images at Google

Morland images at Google/Sterlingtimes

126 pages plus of images at Sterlingtimes

Useful links

[ What Is A Print? | Woodcut & Wood Engraving | Engraving | Etching ]
Aquatint | Stipple | Mezzotint | Lithography | Reproductions ]

More about print types at collector

Wikipedia entry for George Morland

The techniques of the original engraving

Intaglio Printmaking

Morland engravings for sale Donald A. Heald

Morland engravings for sale at Grosvenor

Morland engravings for sale at The Old Print Shop

Morland's Signature

About Morland's Signature

See also William Redmore Bigg

MORLAND, GEORGE (1763—1804), English painter of animals and rustic scenes, was born in London on the 26th of June 1763. His grandfather, George H. Morland, was a subject painter, three of whose popular pictures were engraved by Watson and Dawe in 1769. The son, H. R. Morland, father of George, was also an artist and engraver, and picture restorer, at one time a rich man, but later in reduced circumstances. His pictures of Jaundry-maids especially were very popular in their time, and were reproduced in mezzotint. They represented ladies of some importance who desired to be painted, according to the fashion of the day, engaged in domestic work. Morland’s mother was a Frenchwoman, who possessed a small independent property of her own; she is believed to have been the Maria Morland who exhibited twice at the Royal Academy in 1785 and 1786, although some writers have stated that Maria Morland was not the mother, but one of the sisters of George Morland.

At a very early age Morland produced sketches of remarkable promise, exhibiting some at the Royal Academy in 1773, when he was but ten years old, and continuing to exhibit at the Free Society in 1775 and 1776, and at the Society of Artists in 1777, and then sending again to the Royal Academy in 1778, 1779 and 1780. His very earliest work, however, was produced even before that tender age, as his father kept a drawing which the boy had executed when he was but four years old, representing a coach and horses and two footmen. He was a student at the Royal Academy in early youth, but only for a very short time. From the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to his father for seven years, and by means of his talent appears to have kept the family together. He had opportunities at this time of seeing some of the greatest artists of the day, and works by old masters, but even then a strange repugnance for educated society showed itself, and no persuasion, for example, could ever allure him within reach of the Angerstein gallery, where he would have been a welcome visitor. Before his apprenticeship came to an end, Romney offered to take Morland into his studio for three years, with a salary of 300 a year, but the offer was rejected, and as soon as his freedom came, he left his dull, respectable home, with its over-strict discipline, and began a career of reckless prodigality which has hardly a parallel in art biography. In 1785 he was in France, whither his fame had preceded him, and where he had no lack of commissions, and in the following year he married Anne, the sister of William Ward, the engraver, and settled down in High Street, Marylebone.

Mrs Morland was a beautiful and virtuous woman, and throughout the whole of her husband’s profligate career was deeply attached to him. It was at this time that he painted the six pictures known as the Laetitia series, engraved by J. R. Smith, and, just preceding his marriage, four other didactic works, “The Idle and the Industrious Mechanic” and “The Idle Laundress and the Industrious Cottager,” engraved by Blake, had been produced by him. Shortly after his marriage Morland resided at Pleasant Passage, Hampstead Road, and at that time his reputation was rapidly increasing, while as he was the sole vendor of his own productions, his expenditure, although very extravagant, was not beyond his income. Soon, however, he moved to Warren Place, and there, although he was making a thousand a year by his pictures, he lived at such an expensive rate that he began the series of financial difficulties which finally ruined him. His wild frolics about town, and the prodigal line of conduct upon which he had entered, resulted in a heavy accumulation of debt, but in 1789 he set himself to clear off his encumbrances, and did so in fifteen months. He then removed to Leicester Square, later to Tavistock Row, then to St Martin’s Lane, and finally to Paddington, and was at that time at the very height of his reputation.

After moving to a larger house in Winchester Row, his financial position became so embarrassed that he had to fly from his creditors into Leicestershire, where he indulged to the full his

delight in animal life. After a year, however, he returned to London and settled in Charlotte Street, when his difficulties increased, and time after time he had to obtain letters of licence, in order to avoid being arrested by his creditors. At last, however, he had to cross the water, and change his place of abode from time to time, keeping it as secret as possible, and we hear of him at Lambeth, at East Sheen, in the Minories, Kentish Town, Soho, Newington, Kennington Green and Hackney, while he had numerous adventures in eluding the attention of those who desired to capture him.

In 1799 he escaped to the Isle of Wight, and settled down for some time at Yarmouth, but returned to London at the end of the year, was arrested and sent to King’s Bench prison, where he lived within the rules, occupying a small furnished house in St George’s Fields, but keeping his exact residence a secret. In 1802 he was liberated, but in 803 had to place himself in the custody of the Marshalsea, in order to avoid his creditors. Afterwards he visited Brighton and other places, and by his riotous living brought himself to such a state of health that fits of an apoplectic nature became frequent, and he was for a time paralysede On the I9th of October 1804 he was arrested by a publican and conveyed to a sponging-house, where, in attempting to make a drawing which could be sold in discharge of the debt, he was seized with a fit which proved the beginning of brain fever. He died on the 29th of the same month. His wife survived him only three days, the news of his death bringing on convulsive fits from which she died on the 2nd of November. Their remains were interred together in the burying-place of St James’s Chapel.

The finest of his pictures were executed between 1790 and 1794, and amongst them his picture of the inside of a stable, in the National Gallery, may be reckoned as a masterpiece. His works deal with scenes in rustic and homely life, depicted with purity and simplicity, and show much direct and instinctive feeling for nature. His colouring is mellow, rich in tohe, and vibrant in quality, but, with all their charm, his works reveal often signs of the haste with which they were painted and the carelessness with which they were drawn. He had a supreme power of observation and great executive skill, and he was able to select the vital constituents of a scene and depict even the least interesting of subjects with artistic grace and brilliant representation. His pictures are never crowded; the figures in them remarkably well composed, often so cleverly grouped as to conceal any inaccuracies of drawing, and to produce the effect of a very successful composition. As a painter of English scenes he takes the very highest position, and his work is marked by a spirit and a dash, always combined with broad, harmonious colouring. Many of his best works have been well rendered in mezzotint by J. R. Smith, W. Ward, P. Dawe, G. Keating, S. W. Reynolds and other engravers. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1784 down to 1804, but few of his academy pictures can be identified owing to the inadequate description of them afforded by their titles.

Four biographies of him appeared shortly after his death, written by W. Collins (1805), F. W. Blagdon (1806), J. Hassell (1806) and George Dawe (1807). Later biographies are those by Ralph Richardson (1895), J T. Nettleship (1898) and G. C. Williamson

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90_91_Morland_Index_Page_William Redmore Bigg