Leeds Trinity University College

May 31, 2011 10:30 ET

Academics at Leeds Trinity Paint Unseen Picture of Life and Work of Victorian Artists in New Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - May 31, 2011) - Academics from Leeds Trinity University College contribute to the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) with biographies of Victorian artists who portrayed the everyday lives of ordinary folk.

The ODNB update, published on 26 May, includes new biographies of a number of Victorian artists, many of whom saw their form of genre painting fall out of fashion within their lifetime. Their work was however popular with collectors and is now exhibited in public galleries for twenty-first century audiences.

The biographers are all members of the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies based at Leeds Trinity.

Centre Director Dr Rosemary Mitchell said, "The paintings of this group of artists reflect the lives, pursuits, dreams and obsessions of the Victorians in all their variety. It's good to see academic staff from the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies playing a key role in bringing their lives and work to a wider audience."

Dr Mitchell herself re-evaluates the work of George Bernard O'Neill (1828-1917) whose death passed largely without obituary. His best-known painting, Public Opinion (1863), now in Leeds City Art Gallery, depicts an art audience crowded eagerly round a painting so popular that it requires the protection of a railing.

Assistant Director Dr Nathan Uglow writes on John Seymour Lucas (1849-1923), who specialised in the depiction of historical scenes with great accuracy. After Culloden (1884), now in the Tate, sealed his reputation.

Dr Uglow also brings to light the career of Henry Courtney Selous (1803-1890), who had an eye for commercial success, painting enormous canvas panoramas for display in London's Leicester Square rotunda. His large oil painting Opening of the Great Exhibition is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Professor Karen Sayer establishes a contemporary context for the output of Arthur John Elsley (1860-1952), a hugely popular painter of sentimental scenes of children, often with pets, which were reproduced widely on calendars and greetings cards.

Notes to editors

Leeds Trinity University College is an independent higher education institution offering foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in a range of subjects including Business, Education, Humanities, Journalism, Media, Psychology and Sport. Formerly Leeds Trinity & All Saints, the institution attained University College status in September 2009, following the granting by the Privy Council of Taught Degree Awarding Powers.

All degrees involve a professional placement for students to extend their experience and explore their career aspirations. With around 3000 students studying for full and part-time degrees Leeds Trinity retains a community atmosphere which provides a supportive and friendly environment to help people realise their full potential.


The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography now includes the lives of 57,768 people. The ODNB online is freely available in public libraries across the UK. Public libraries offer 'remote access', so that library members can log-in to and read the dictionary online—at home or anywhere, at any time. The last print edition appeared in 2004 and there are three online updates every year.

Leeds Trinity has a longstanding association with the dictionary, which includes contributions by past and present academic staff including Dr Di Drummond, Dr John Hargreaves, Professor Martin Hewitt, and Dr Richard Storer.


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