1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Frost, William Edward

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FROST, WILLIAM EDWARD (1810–1877), English painter, was born at Wandsworth, near London, in September 1810. About 1825, through William Etty, R.A., he was sent to a drawing school in Bloomsbury, and after several years’ study there, and in the sculpture rooms at the British Museum, Frost was in 1829 admitted as a student in the schools of the Royal Academy. He won medals in all the schools, except the antique, in which he was beaten by Maclise. During those years he maintained himself by portrait-painting. He is said to have painted about this time over 300 portraits. In 1839 he obtained the gold medal of the Royal Academy for his picture of “Prometheus bound by Force and Strength.” At the cartoon exhibition at Westminster Hall in 1843 he was awarded a third-class prize of £100 for his cartoon of “Una alarmed by Fauns and Satyrs.” He exhibited at the Academy “Christ crowned with Thorns” (1843), “Nymphs dancing” (1844), “Sabrina” (1845), “Diana and Actaeon” (1846). In 1846 he was elected Associate of the Royal Academy. His “Nymph disarming Cupid” was exhibited in 1847; “Una and the Wood-Nymphs” of the same year was bought by the queen. This was the time of Frost’s highest popularity, which considerably declined after 1850. His later pictures are simply repetitions of earlier motives. Among them may be named “Euphrosyne” (1848), “Wood-Nymphs” (1851), “Chastity” (1854), “Il Penseroso” (1855), “The Graces” (1856), “Narcissus” (1857), “Zephyr with Aurora playing” (1858), “The Graces and Loves” (1863), “Hylas and the Nymphs” (1867). Frost was elected to full membership of the Royal Academy in December 1871. This dignity, however, he soon resigned. Frost had no high power of design, though some of his smaller and apparently less important works are not without grace and charm. Technically, his paintings are, in a sense, very highly finished, but they are entirely without mastery. He died on the 4th of June 1877.