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John Emms

1843 - 1912

John Emms was born in Blofield, Norfolk in 1843. His interest in art took him to London, where he assisted Mr Frederick Leighton (later Lord Leighton) in his studio. It was as Leighton's assistant that Emms went to the New Forest to help in the execution of the fresco 'The Ten Virgins', in Lyndhurst Church.

His visits to Lyndhurst introduced him to a wonderful area of the country where animals and wild life abounded and where the local gentry appreciated and purchased his paintings. He finally moved to Lyndhurst in 1872 where he enjoyed great success as an artist. An accomplished horseman, his activities in the hunting field helped him find subjects and customers for his work. Short trips to other parts of the country, brought him work painting portraits of horses and hounds.

His early pictures were carefully painted and show the use of glazing. Emms later developed a direct and rapid style using a limited palette. Emms was able to portray animals, especially hounds, with an appearance of vitality that reveals their personality. His hunting scenes are amongst his best works, and are a lively portrayal of traditional rural life.

Exhibited : Southampton Art Society Royal Academy (20 paintings between 1864 and 1903); The London Exhibitions of 1875 (3 paintings at 'The Beauties of the New Forest' exhibition)

Museums: National Gallery of Scotland (includes a painting of a wire-haired terrier); Southampton Art Gallery; Russell-Cotes Art Gallery, Bournemouth. Back to list