Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Armitage, Edward
ARMITAGE, Edward, R.A., an historical and mural painter, descended from an ancient Yorkshire family; was born in London May 20, 1817, and educated in France and Germany. In 1837 he entered the studio of Paul Delaroche at Paris, and he was selected by that master to assist him in the decoration of the "Hemicycle" at the School of Fine Arts. Three years later Mr. Armitage sent a large picture of "Prometheus Bound" to the Paris Exhibition of Living Painters. To the Cartoon Exhibition at Westminster Hall in the following year he contributed "The Landing of Julius Cæsar in Britain," which took a first-class prize of £300. It was reported that Delaroche had worked upon this cartoon, and consequently the premium awarded to it by the Royal Commissioners was withheld until a second drawing should be executed in this country. The question was speedily decided in the young painter's favour. In 1844 he was a contributor to the Westminster Hall Exhibition of works in fresco, but not with similar success, receiving no prize. At the third competition in 1845 he was more successful, taking a £200 prize for a cartoon and coloured design, "The Spirit of Religion;" and, finally, in 1847, another first prize of £500 was awarded to him for an oil picture, "The Battle of Meanee," now the property of the Queen. After this Mr. Armitage went to Rome, where he remained one year. During the war with Russia he visited the Crimea, and the result was two pictures, "The Heavy Cavalry Charge of Balaklava," and "The Stand of the Guards at Inkermann." These pictures were painted for Messrs. Gambart & Co., and were not exhibited at the Royal Academy. In 1858 he produced a colossal figure, entitled "Retribution," allegorical of the suppression and punishment of the Indian mutiny. In the Upper Waiting Hall of the Palace of Westminster he has executed two experimental frescoes, "The Thames with its Tributaries," and "The Death of Marmion" and in the Catholic Church of St. John at Islington, he painted "St. Francis and his early followers before Pope Innocent III.," and decorated the apse with noble figures of Christ and the Twelve Apostles. In 1869 he was engaged upon the monochrome aeries of wall-paintings in University Hall, Gordon Square—a memorial to the late Crabb Robinson. The composition is 56 feet long, and the figures, thirty-four in number, are somewhat over life size. Mr. Armitage was elected A.R.A. in 1867, R.A. in Dec. 1872; and was appointed Professor and Lecturer on Painting to the Royal Academy in 1875. To the annual exhibitions of that body he has been a regular contributor since 1848. The following is a list of the pictures he has exhibited at the Academy:—"Henry VIII. and Katherine Parr," and "The Death of Nelson" in 1848; "Waiting for a Customer," and "An Incident in the History of Thomas-à-Becket" in 1848; "The Socialists," and "The Vision of Ezekiel" in 1850; "Samson" in 1851; "Hagar" and "The Thames and its Tributaries," a design for fresco in Houses of Parliament, in 1852; "The City of Refuge" in 1853; "The Death of Mannion," another design for fresco at Westminster, and "The Lotus Eater" in 1854; "The Ravine at Inkermann," and "Portrait of Mrs. E. A." in 1856; "Souvenir of Scutari" in 1857; "Retribution" in 1858; "St. Francis and his early followers before Pope Innocent III.," design for fresco in Catholic Church of St. John, Islington, in 1859; "The Mother of Moses hiding after having exposed her child on the river's brink" and "Christ and the Apostles," design for fresco in Catholic Church of St. John, Islington, in 1860; "Pharaoh's Daughter" in 1861; "The Burial of a Christian Martyr in the time of Nero" in 1863; "Ahab and Jezebel" in 1864; "Esther's Banquet" in 1865; "The Remorse of Judas," and "The Parents of Christ seeking Him" in 1866; "Savonarola and Lorenzo the Magnificent," "Christ Healing the Sick," and "Head of an Apostle" in 1867; "Herod's Birthday Feast" in 1868; "Hero lighting the Beacon," "The Sick Chameleon," and "Christ calling the Apostles James and John" in 1869; "Incident suggesting to Æsop his fable of Fortune and the Sleeping Boy," "Gethsemane," and "Le fil de la bonne Vierge—(gossamer threads)" in 1870; "Peace: a battlefield of the late war, twenty years hence," and "A Deputation to Faraday" in 1871; "The dawn of the first Easter Sunday," "A Dream of Fair Women," and a picture "In memory of the great Fire at Chicago" in 1872; "Christ's Reproof to the Pharisees," and "Simplex munditiis" in 1873; "St. John taking the Virgin to his own home after the Crucifixion" in 1874; "Julian the Apostate presiding at a Conference of Sectarians" in 1875; "The Hymn of the Last Supper," and "Phryne " in 1876; "Serf Emancipation: an Anglo-Saxon noble on his death-bed gives freedom to his slaves" in 1877; "After an Entomological Sale: 'beati possidentes'" "The Cities of the Plain," "The Mother of Moses," and "Pygmalion's Galatea" in 1878; "The Woman taken in Adultery" in 1879. Mr. Armitage spent the winter of 1879–80 in Algeria, and made numerous studies, but did not exhibit at the Royal Academy in the following spring. In 1881 he exhibited a large "Samson and the Lion," and an altar-piece, in compartments, representing the "Acts of Mercy." In 1882 he exhibited "The Meeting of St. Francis and St. Dominic amongst the Ruins of Ancient Rome," "One of Raffaelle's Models," and "Sea Urchins;" and in 1883, "A Real Centenarian: portrait of Miss W., aged 101 years and 3 months." Mr. Armitage was always fond of aquatic sports, both rowing and sailing. He now possesses a yacht, and is legally qualified to command her, having passed the Board of Trade examination, and obtained a Master's certificate.