George Goodwin Kilburne (24 July 1839 – 1924) was an English genre
painter specialising in accurately drawn interiors with figures. He favoured
the watercolour medium, although he also worked in oils, pencil and - in his
early career - engraving.
George was born at Hackford near Reepham in Norfolk, the eldest of the
three children of Goodwin Kilburne (1812–1887) and Rebeccca Button
Kilburne was educated at Hawkhurst, Kent - his father's old school. On
leaving at the age of 15, he went to London to serve a 5-year apprenticeship
as a wood engraver with the Dalziel brothers, engravers and illustrators. He
was highly regarded by his employers who described him as "industrious and
constant" and "one of the most satisfactory pupils we ever had". His time
as an engraver served him well, allowing him to develop the accuracy and
detail which would enhance his subsequent painting. He remained with the
firm for a further year before leaving to take up watercolour and oil painting
as a profession, quickly becoming one of the most sought after and wellknown artists in England.
In June 1862, Kilburne married Janet Dalziel at Old Church, St. Pancras,
London. She was the daughter of Robert Dalziel, the painter and brother of
the Dalziel brothers
. They had three sons and two daughters - of these his eldest son, George
Goodwin Kilburne Jnr., became a very well known painter of animals and
figures, principally of sporting subjects. In 1881 the family were recorded as
living in Hampstead, London.
Janet died in 1882. In 1889 Kilburne married Edith Golightly (34 years his
junior) and a further two children ensued - Edith May (Born 1900) and
Constance Ivy (born 1902).
Kilburne was a keen sportsman and equestrian and involved himself in
hunting, cycling and golf. He possessed a good collection of arms and
armour, mainly swords, which often figured in his pictures. He was said to
be very quiet and almost retiring in manner, yet very companionable and a
friendly and a genial host.
He lived for many years at Hawkhurst House, 39 Steeles Road, Haverstock
Hill, Hampstead in London and was a member of the Artists' Society Club
at Langham Chambers. At the time of his death, in 1924, he was living at
16, Albion Road, Swiss Cottage, London, but died at his daughter
Florence's home, next door to his old house, 38 Steeles Road, Haverstock
Hill, Hampstead, London