The artist Edward Samuel Harper stands before one of his works with a paint brush in his hand. His neck tie is held with a tie ring, decorated with a green stone, the only colour in his clothing, and he has a long, wispy moustache. The work of art he stands before has yet to be identified.
This work was painted when the artist was in his late forties and had been Director of the Life Academy in Birmingham for some 21 years. At about this time his work ceased to be shown at the Royal Academy in London.
Edward Samuel Harper, painter of figurative subjects and genre, exhibited from 1876 at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and elsewhere in the Midlands. He also exhibited at the Royal Academy in London from 1885 to 1901. He was Director of the Life Academy at Birmingham Municipal School of Art from 1880 to 1919 and lived in Harborne, Birmingham. Harper has at times been confused with the landscape painter Edward Steel Harper (1878-1951). The latter, who was born in Birmingham, was probably his son. Edward Steel Harper was for many years Art Master at Wolverhampton Grammar School. He likewise lived at Harborne, Birmingham, and also became a member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.
With Daniel Shackleton (fine art dealer) of Dundas Street, Edinburgh; from whom purchased by the Fine Art Society, London, in January 1971; from whom purchased by the Department of the Environment in July 1978
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