Richard Ansdell RA
Research by Sarah Kellam
(Great Great Grand-daughter
of Richard Ansdell)
,Richard Ansdell was born to Thomas Griffiths Ansdell, a ship’s pulley block maker at Liverpool docks and Anne (nee Jackson), a seamstress.
In 1847 he left his native Liverpool and moved to Kensington, eventually living in a large house he named 'Lytham House' after his beloved Lytham St Annes in Lancashire where he also had a sizeable residence called 'Starr Hills'. Nowadays the area of the town around Starr Hills is called ‘Ansdell’ after him – as is a street in Kensington.
Ansdell was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1861 and Royal Academician in 1870. He became one of the most successful Victorian sporting artists, collaborating on huge canvases with artists such as Thomas Creswick (1811–1869) and William Powell Frith (1819–1909), placing the animals into their landscapes.
Ansdell's output was extremely prolific and hitherto unknown paintings are always coming to light, having been undocumented in family collections since Victorian times. He painted a wide variety of sporting, animal and romantic narrative subjects and was especially noted for his depiction of many breeds of dogs executed in fine, realistic detail with a sound knowledge of the subject.
He died at Collingwood Tower near Frimley in Surrey, the last mansion he built, which truly reflected his remarkable success as an artist. Popular as a person as well as an artist he preferred to be known as a Victorian ' professional artist', being realistic, level-headed and loyal to friends and family. He is buried, modestly, in a family plot at Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking in Surrey.
Click here to read the full biography of Richard Ansdell by Sarah Kellam
This letter was written from Lytham House - Ansdell's London residence that he named after his beloved Lytham St Annes. He was only educated to the age of 13 and I always marvel at the professional-looking letters that he sent to high society and his friends. Here he mentions the Artists' Benevolent Fund in which he took a keen interest, having seen many of his artist friends' families fall on hard times after the death of the head of the household.
Lytham House, St. Albans Road, Kensington
12th April 1870
Dear Mrs Henry
I send you the Ladies tickets I promised for the Artist Benevolent fund dinner. If you think it worth your while to use them.
I remain Dear Madame Yours very faithfully Rich C Ansdell
(he often signed like this and also signed his paintings as 'Rich d (in the air) Ansdell' - I think this is meant to be a d on the letter but it's come out as a C!)