Myles Birket Foster

1825 - 1899

Victorian era, England

Myles Birket Foster Biography

North Shields 1825 - 1899 Weybridge
Best known for his charming landscapes and images of rustic Victorian childhood, Myles Birket Foster was the son of one of the most accomplished watercolourists of the Victorian era. Born in North Shields, he went to London at an early age and began his career apprenticeship to Ebenezer Landells, a wood engraver and pupil of Bewick. He was then employed as a draughtsman under Henry Vizeteely and illustrated deluxe editions of epic poems such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?s Evangeline and Roger?s Italy.
During the 1850s, Birket Foster began to specialise in his preferred medium of watercolour. This medium was to confirm his reputation. He was elected an Associate of the Old Watercolour Society in 1860 and was made a full member in 1862. He also exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy between 1859 and 1881.
Birket Foster traveled considerably during his career; in 1852, 1853 and 1861, he visited the Rhine and made many sketches. In 1868, Foster went to Venice to visit his close friends Sir William Quiller Orchardson and Fred Walker. The artist was to return to Italy many times and was commissioned by Charles Seely to make fifty drawings of Venice for ?5,000.
In 1853, he built a house at Witley, near Godalming. Birket Foster had Hill House lavishly decorated by the famous interior design firm of Morris, Marshall Faulkner and Co. formed by William Morris in the 1860s to provide elegant hand-made Arts and Crafts furnishings. Sir Edward Coley Burne Jones painted and designed parts of these interior decorations. Foster found the Surrey countryside particularly inspirational; his watercolours of the region near Witley have made the area famous