Glendening, Alfred Augustus (1840-1921)

Glendening, Alfred Augustus (1840-1921)

Alfred Augustus Glendening was a British painter of landscapes in oil and watercolour.

The Inspirational Thames

Born in Hampton on Thames, London, Glendening was raised in an area popular with Victorian artists. The River, with its zig-zagging steamboats and silvery waters, providing ample inspiration for a young impressionable mind.

This fascinating environment delivered the building blocks for his artistic development, and one can imagine him sketching on the riverbank along with other painters. It would take a little time before he turned to art as a career but, once he pursued his calling, success was inevitable.

Travel By Train

Travel during the mid-19th century was becoming a little easier thanks to the emerging rail network, and Glendening filled his sketchbooks on various cross-country trips. In 1864, he debuted at The Royal Society of British Artists with a view from Cumbria’s picturesque Lake District. And the following year, he exhibited ‘A Cornfield, Kent’ at the Royal Academy. Many of his works were centred around shimmering water with the Isle of Wight another frequent destination.

Soon, the rising middle-classes took note and he quickly became a firm favourite. With views in North Wales, the Highlands, Surrey, and Devon captured with a deft touch. His approach was predominantly naturalistic and lacked the grandiosity of many early Victorian painters. His tranquil vignettes are skilfully observed with dapples of light dancing across reflected foliage. The occasional swan picked out with weight and movement.

Alfred Augustus Glendening, River Scene with Swans

Alfred Augustus Glendening, River Scene with Swans (1904)

Delicate Handling

Glendening’s exquisite draughtsmanship was matched by a keen understanding of tone and value - resulting in balanced compositions with blissful moods. The grandeur of Snowdonia rendered with delicacy, in contrast to many of his peers who emphasised its awe. He was a member of David Cox’s Betws-y-Coed colony and travelled to Wales often.

By 1903, he’d exhibited 47 works at the Royal Academy. Quite an achievement for a late starter.

Today, various museums hold examples including at Southampton and Newport.


Born in Hampton on Thames, England.


Debuted at The Royal Society of British Artists with ‘Morning on Grassmore Lake’.


Debuted at The Royal Academy with ‘A Cornfield, Kent’. He would exhibit 47 works in total.


Died in Deptford, England.

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