Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sheffield, George

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SHEFFIELD, GEORGE (1839–1892), artist, son of a draper at Wigton in Cumberland, was born there on 1 Jan. 1839. His uncle, George Sheffield, had been student at the Royal Academy, and had considerable local reputation as a portrait-painter. From him and from Henry Hoodless, also a Wigton resident, Sheffield obtained help in his youthful studies. While still very young he removed with his father to Warrington, where he received his first art teaching in company with Mr. Luke Fildes, R.A., in the art school of that town. At first he adopted the sea as a profession, but after a few years' experience of this life he settled at Manchester, studying in the school of art and becoming a pattern-designer. He soon turned his attention to landscape-painting, and from that time practised every variety of that art, painting with great facility, truth, and beauty, seascapes, coast scenes, and landscapes. He worked in both oil and watercolour, and produced some fine works in both mediums, but undoubtedly his forte was the use of monochrome. His drawings in sepia and black and white are unrivalled in their variety and delicate beauty of atmospheric effect. He worked with great speed, and produced a vast number of drawings. In 1869 he was elected an associate of the Manchester Academy and a full member in 1871. From 1868 he was a regular exhibitor at all the Manchester and other local exhibitions, and between 1872 and 1890 he showed six pictures at the Royal Academy and eleven at other London exhibitions. Nearly all his best pictures are in the collections of Mr. Robert H. Edmondson and other Lancashire connoisseurs. There are in the Manchester City Art Gallery two works by Sheffield—an oil painting, ‘A Hundred Years Ago,’ and a water-colour, ‘The Trough of the Sea’—but neither shows him at his best. There is an excellent portrait of Sheffield in ‘Momus’ (a Manchester periodical) for 26 Aug. 1880. Sheffield died in Manchester, 2 Oct. 1892. His wife predeceased him; eight children survived him.

[West Cumberland Times; Manchester Evening News, 3 Oct. 1892; Manchester Guardian, 4 Oct. 1892; information from R. H. Edmondson, esq., and personal knowledge.]

A. N.