Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Field, Walter

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FIELD, WALTER (1837–1901), painter, youngest son of Edwin Wilkins Field [q. v.] by his second wife, Letitia Kinder, was born at Windmill Hill, Hampstead, on 1 Dec. 1837. He was a lineal descendant of Oliver Cromwell. After education at University College School, London, he was taught painting by John Rogers Herbert, R.A. [q. v.], and John Pye [q. v.] the engraver gave him lessons in chiaroscuro. Making art his profession, he painted outdoor figure subjects and landscapes, especially views of Thames scenery, which were often enlivened with well-drawn figures; he also produced a few portraits. At first he worked chiefly in oil, but subsequently executed many drawings in water-colour. His landscapes and coast scenes show skilful technique. Between 1856 and 1901 he exhibited at the Old Water Colour Society (Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours), at the Royal Academy (where he showed forty-two pictures), the British Institution (where he showed nine pictures), the Royal Society of British Artists, Dudley Gallery, and elsewhere. He was elected an associate of the Old Water Colour Society on 22 March 1880, but never attained full membership. He was also one of the earliest members of the Dudley Gallery, whose first exhibition was held in 1865. Field, who was devoted to his art, was a keen lover of nature; he was untiring in his efforts for the preservation of the natural beauties of Hampstead Heath, and was the chief founder of the Hampstead Heath Protection Society. A drinking fountam was erected on the Heath to his memory. He resided principally at Hampstead. He died at The Pryors, East Heath Road, on 23 Dec. 1901, and was buried in Hampstead cemetery.

The Victoria and Albert Museum has two water-colour drawings by Field, viz. 'Boy in a Cornfield' (1866) and 'Girl carrying a Pitcher' (1866); and three of his Thames views are in the Schwabe Collection in the Kunsthalle at Hamburg. Among his most popular works were 'The Milkmaid singing to Isaak Walton,' 'Henley Regatta,' which contains portraits from sittings of many famous oars- men, and ‘Come unto these Yellow Sands.’ An exhibition of oil paintings by Field was held at the galleries of the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours in September and October 1902; 216 works remaining in his studio after his death were sold at Christie's on 17 and 18 Nov. 1902.

By his wife, Mary Jane Cookson, whom he married on 14 May 1868, Walter Field had seven children.

[Information kindly supplied by Miss M. Field and Mr. F. W. Hayward Butt; Müller und Singer, Allgemeines Künstler-Lexicon (date of death wrongly given in supplement: see death certificate at Somerset House); Graves, Dict. of Artists, Roy. Acad. and Brit. Inst. Exhibitors; Cats. of Old Water Colour Society (those of 1882–1901 contain reproductions of works by Field), Victoria and Albert Museum (water-colours), and the Hamburg Kunsthalle; The Year's Art, 1891, facing p. 86 (portrait); The Studio, Spring No., 1905, p. xlii; Illustrated London News, 27 Sept. 1902.]

B. S. L.