Schwanfelder, Charles Henry (DNB00)

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SCHWANFELDER, CHARLES HENRY (1773–1837), painter, was born in 1773 at Leeds, where his father was a house decorator and a noted painter of clock faces, tea-trays, and snuff-boxes. He was trained to the same business, but early gained a reputation as an animal painter, and was for some years much employed by noblemen and gentlemen in portraying their favourite horses, hounds, and domestic pets; his groups of grouse, and ptarmigan, and other game, were also much esteemed by sportsmen. Schwanfelder practised landscape-painting extensively, and his views of Yorkshire, Scotland, Wales, and the lake district were an important feature of the exhibitions of the Northern Society, held annually at Leeds, to which he was a large contributor. He exhibited occasionally at the Royal Academy from 1809 to 1826. He painted a few subjects from bible history, in which animals could be introduced, such as ‘Balaam and the Ass,’ ‘The dead Prophet with the Lion and the Ass,’ and ‘Daniel in the Lions' Den;’ he also had some success as a portrait-painter, and his portraits of Sir John Beckett, bart., M.P., Dr. R. W. Hamilton, and Thomas Smith of Wakefield were well engraved. Schwanfelder held the appointment of animal painter to George III and George IV, but his works are seldom met with outside his native county. He resided throughout his life at Leeds, paying frequent visits to the metropolis. He died in London on 9 July 1837, after undergoing an operation for disease of the throat, and was buried at Leeds. A portrait of Schwanfelder, painted by himself, belongs to the corporation of Leeds.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1893; Hailstone's Cat. of Portraits of Yorkshire Worthies, 1868; information kindly supplied by Mr. Councillor Howgate of Leeds.]

F. M. O'D.