Born in Northampton, England, Jonathan Pratt was an accomplished painter of Victorian genre scenes and portraits. His approach was predominantly traditional and served a middle-class desire for gentle interiors.
His father, a shoemaker, worked at home among a large family of ten children. Jonathan was the youngest and raised in a house abundant with activity. As a young man, he developed a keen skill for drawing and was surrounded by inspiration. One can imagine him sketching daily activities within the family home, perhaps sitting at the kitchen table while his mother prepared dinner.
At 11, he began a long apprenticeship under Robert Andrews in Wolverhampton, which was at times particularly gruelling. He worked alongside Andrews for nine years, where he honed his skills, and was soon gaining commissions as a portrait painter. Later developing his talent for genre scenes.
In 1864, his works were shown in Birmingham and he debuted at the Royal Academy in 1871. Birmingham would become his final home, together with wife Susana Strawson. During this mature phase of his life, one gets the impression that Pratt was a modest man with a down-to-earth personality. His solid career developed without drama and he soon found himself elected a Member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.
Jonathan Pratt, Making Up The Butter
In ‘Making Up The Butter’, we see a typical family kitchen captured with a deft touch.
Jonathan Pratt, The Studio of a Rustic Genius (1883)
While in this piece from 1883, we see a budding artist together with friends or siblings. Perhaps sketching a rabbit, which is fed by a girl.
Following the death of his wife, Pratt moved to Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, where he lived with the artist William Joseph King.
Today, the works of Jonathan Pratt serve as fascinating examples of Victorian genre scenes. They capture everyday moments within ordinary family homes, often filled with busy figures undertaking simple activities.
His paintings are held in numerous public collections including at Birmingham Museum, Guildhall Art Gallery, Leicester Town Hall and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.
Born in Northampton, England to Joshua Pratt, a shoemaker, and Rebecca Boys.
Began an apprenticeship in Wolverhampton under portrait painter Robert Andrews.
Began working as a professional artist in Lincolnshire
Married Susana Strawson and moved to Leicester.
Moved to Doncaster.
Moved to Birmingham.
Began exhibiting in Birmingham.
Debuted at the Royal Academy. Over the course of his life, he exhibited eight times.
Became a member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.
Became the Director of the Costume Academy.
Lived in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Following the death of his wife, he lived with the artist William Joseph King.
Died in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.