Derby, Alfred Thomas (DNB00)

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DERBY, ALFRED THOMAS (1821–1873), painter, the eldest son of William Derby [q. v.], was born in London on 21 Jan. 1821. He was educated at Mr. Wyand's school in the Hampstead Road, and among his school-fellows were Henry Thomas Buckle, Frederick and Edward A. Goodall, and Percy St. John. After studying in the schools of the Royal Academy, he painted portraits and scenes from the novels of Sir Walter Scott, until the failing health of his father made it necessary that the son should assist him in his water-colour copies from the works of Landseer and others. Thenceforward he confined his art to water-colours and produced many highly finished drawings, sometimes original works, but more frequently copies from the paintings of well-known masters, such as Webster's ‘Slide,’ and Gainsborough's portrait of Mrs. Graham in the National Gallery of Scotland, the copy of which was in the Loan Exhibition of Portrait Miniatures at South Kensington in 1865. His works, chiefly portraits and figure subjects, appeared occasionally at the Royal Academy and other exhibitions in London from 1839 to 1872. Some are in the royal and in private collections of this country, and others are in America. His diffidence and the delicacy of his constitution somewhat hindered his success. After two years of increasing ill-health he died 19 April 1873. He left a small collection of highly finished drawings from portraits, which was sold at Christie's 23 Feb. 1874.

[Art Journal, 1873, p. 208; Catalogues of the Exhibitions of the Royal Academy, British Institution (Living Artists), and Society of British Artists, 1839–72.]

R. E. G.