Edwin Boddington was a London landscape
painter and only son of the artist Henry John Boddington. He was born in the Islington district of
London on 14th October 1836, under the name of Williams. He grew up
in London and after his marriage in 1856, lived for some time in Pimlico. Over
the next thirty-six years he gave various addresses in London, Buckinghamshire
and Bedford. It is said that his character is quite different from his father.
His work disappeared from the major exhibiting scene about 1870, although his
paintings remained known on the fine art market. Later in life he was
frequently in financial difficulties, but only capitalized on his talent when
really hard pressed – painting a picture in order to settle a bill for £5. In
1905 when he was 69, Edwin inherited over £1,000 from his mother, Clarissa
Boddington-Williams, but a date for his own death has not been established. It
is possible that he may have emigrated to Australia to join his two sons and a
daughter all of whom moved there.
Edwin was a pupil of his father, but his
work does not always have the same quality, in his later efforts. He produced so many paintings of the Thames
that he was sometimes known as “Thames Boddington”. Edwin was 24 when he
exhibited at the British Institution in 1860, A Study from Nature; Betchworth
Park was noted as a “cheerful interpretation of a summer day, with its fragrant
herbage and dropping sunbeams…” This description could easily apply to H.J.
Boddington who exhibited exactly the same title with the Society of British
Artists in the same year. The two men probably sketched the same scene
together. After the death of H.J.
Boddington, it is known that Edwin finished some of his remaining canvases.
Edwin was not always too anxious to be identified with his own paintings
particularly in later years. Work signed with the surname only, often elegantly
in red is thought to have been produced in order to exploit the better
commercial value of the older man. Edwin is known to have signed himself as ‘E.
He exhibited 106 works in London, including
the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of British artists. Views on the Thames were his favoured subject
and he developed a very personal and recognizable style.
Bibl: The Williams Family of Painters – Jan