Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/244

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

and was strongly opposed to literal transcripts from nature made without selection. For a time he painted also in oils, and he exhibited fourteen oil-paintings at the Royal Academy between 1869 and 1877, after which he abandoned oils altogether. In 1876 he was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Berlin, he occasionally etched reproductions of his own pictures for publication ('Crossing the Brook,' 1882; 'Home, Sweet Home,' 1891), and a plate etched by him after Frederick Walker, 'Driving Geese, Cookham,' was published in 1887. Many of his drawings have been reproduced by chromo-lithography. A series of thirty-five lithographs of views of Brittany was privately printed in 1878, and 'Some Places of Note in England' (twenty-five drawings transferred to stone, with descriptive notes by the artist) appeared in 1888.

In his early days Foster had lived at St. John's Wood. In 1861 he removed to Witley, Surrey, where he purchased some land and built a house for himself (The Hill) in 1863. Here he formed a fine collection of books, china, English water-colours, and other pictures, including a series of seven paintings of St. George by Burne-Jones. The house and the collections which it contained were sold in 1894. Foster had a large circle of friends, especially among artists; Frederick Walker [q. v.] was one of his most constant companions and guests at Witley, and exercised some influence upon his figure-painting.

Foster died at Weybridge on 27 March 1899, and was buried on 1 April at Witley. He married, first, in 1850, his cousin Ann, daughter of Robert Spence of North Shields, by whom he had five children, the second of whom is the water-colour painter and illustrator, William Foster. His first wife died in 1859. He married secondly, in 1864, Frances, daughter of Dawson Watson of Sedburgh, and sister of the water-colour painter, James Dawson Watson.

A portrait, engraved on wood, was published in 1896 as the frontispiece to 'Pictures of Rustic Landscape, by Birket Foster.'

[The Art Annual for 1890 (Christmas number of the Art Journal), by Marcus B. Huish, with portrait, illustrations, and list of books illustrated by Birket Foster; Athenæum, 1 April 1899; Morning Post, 29 March 1899; Daily Telegraph, 29 March 1899.]

C. D.

FOSTER, VERE HENRY LEWIS (1819–1900), philanthropist, born at Copenhagen on 25 April 1819, was the third son of Sir Augustus John Foster, first baronet [q. v.], by his wife, Albinia Jane (d. 28 May 1867), daughter of George Vere Hobart, and granddaughter of George Hobart, third earl of Buckinghamshire [q. v.] He was educated at Eton, and matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, on 30 May 1838. From 1842 to 1843 he was attached to the diplomatic mission of Sir Henry Ellis (1777-1855) [q. v.] at Rio de Janeiro, and from 1845 to 1847 to that of Sir William Gore Ouseley [q. v.] at Monte Video. In 1847 he visited Ireland with his eldest brother, Sir Frederick George Foster, at the time of the potato famine. They endeavoured to relieve the wants of the starving peasants, and Vere Foster was so much impressed with the misery which he had encountered that from that time he made the social advancement of the Irish people the chief concern of his life. Turning his attention to the question of emigration he made three voyages to America as a steerage passenger in an emigrant ship to acquaint himself with the treatment of emigrants, and was greatly concerned by the bad accommodation. He was afterwards enabled to lay his experiences before a parliamentary committee, and by his testimony had no inconsiderable share in procuring the passage of remedial legislation. On the outbreak of the civil war in the United States in 1861 emigration was checked for a time, and Foster took up earnestly the improvement of education in Ireland. He contributed largely for the provision of better school accommodation and apparatus, and gave grants in aid of building several hundred new school-houses.

In 1879, on the recurrence of severe distress in Ireland, Foster turned with increased industry to promoting female emigration to the United States and the British colonies. Young women were assisted partly by means of subscriptions, but chiefly at Foster's own cost. During the whole period of his activity over twenty-five thousand were thus aided. He was heartily supported in his various projects both by the Roman catholic and the protestant clergy.

Foster was also well known by his series of copybooks in general use in the United Kingdom. These comprised: 1. 'Elementary Drawing Copybooks,' 1868. 2. 'Copybooks,' 1870. 3. 'Drawing Copybooks,' 1870. 4. ' Advanced Water-colour Drawing,' 1872. 5. 'Public School Writing Copybooks,' 1881. 6. 'Simple Lessons in Watercolour,' 1883. 7. 'Drawing Books ... in Pencil and Watercolours,' 1884. 8. 'Painting for Beginners,' 1884. 9. 'Upright Writing Charts,' 1897. In 1898 he edited, under the title of 'The Two Duchesses,' London, 8vo, the family correspondence of