Edward Frederick Brewtnall
Edward Frederick Brewtnall is thought to be a Pre-Raphaelite artist; he produced English genre (imagined or realistic scenes from everyday life) watercolor and oil paintings. His favorite subjects were those that he found in fairytales and folk tales; he would paint masterful pieces with well known characters from stories such as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and the Frog Prince (1880). His popular works also included that of landscapes and most particularly, illustrations. As an illustrator he drew for magazines, such as Pall Mall, The English Illustrated and the Graphic, in addition to producing artwork for illustrated books, one of them being Barnard’s edition of Bunyan’s "Pilgrim’s Progress".
He was born in London in 1846, and apparently lived in London for all of his life. Beginning in 1868 he submitted his pieces to be exhibited in the Royal Academy, Suffolk Street, Grosvenor Gallery, the Society of Bristish Arts and the Royal Watercolor Society (RWS). Brewtnall gained membership at the RWS in 1883, and also joined two other respected artists clubs, the Royal Society of British Artists and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters.
In a small but engaging book on the artists who celebrated British Water-Colour art as their own, there is a page just for Edward Frederick Brewtnall, which gives insight to his career sometime shortly after his death in 1902. The book was written and illustrated by the Royal Water Colour Society in the first year of King Edward VII. The author notes that Brewtnall, even from the outset of his career when he worked at the "Graphic", was better than his contemporaries who had become famous in their own time. Yet somehow he never gained that supreme height, and his works were always almost "just there", missing only by a hair. As his friends stood in Brewtnall's studio, after his passing, and searched deeply among his works for the reason for his missing his mark, the best answer came from a RWS colleague: Although Brewtnall was a master of composition and color, whether with skin tones or with tinted sky, it was the obsession with color that took away from his draughtsmanship, which he often needed but overlooked.
The critics who know more can state their reasons as why Brewtnall does or does not deserve a higher esteem in an art lover's eyes, but it's best just to ask a child what he or she thinks, once they've enjoyed the fairy tales along with the imaginative and detailed illustrations that he gave to them so easily.