British artist Alfred George Stannard produced a bountiful selection of landscapes and genre scenes throughout his career. Each painting is imbued with a realism resulting from an understanding and reflection of nature in the composition, as well as a dash of the romantic to truly bring an energy to the canvas.
Stannard depicts varying aspects of the English countryside. A scene of a dilapidated cottage swamped by trees ignites a curiosity in the viewer. A wavering foreground of glassy water strikes a strong tone against the solid, bold permanence of Peterborough Cathedral in the background.
In every image, there is conjured a narrative, woven through with an evocation of the beauty of nature.
Stannard’s realistic yet romantically imbued style is indicative of the Norwich School of Painting. Established in 1803, the Norwich School sought an ‘enquiry into the rise, progress and present state of painting.’ Although much overshadowed by the other great proponents of landscape painting, Turner and Constable, the Norwich School was one of the first to truly understand and celebrate landscapes. There is indeed much to be compared to Constable in their focus on realism, and Turner in their romanticism.
Stannard and his father before him were both members, and indeed, it was his father who taught him to paint. The influence of this artistic circle is evident in his work. Stannard’s family, in fact, were all a painterly sort. His uncle, aunt, and his sister all painted from nature and became successful in their endeavours. Were it not for the fact that the Norwich School never truly exhibited in London, most of their works being displayed in Norwich Castle, the group as a whole might have achieved greater acclaim.
As it was, Stannard lived for a time in London and sought his individual success there. Even his wife exhibited work at the Suffolk Street Galleries. Nonetheless, Stannard never forgot his roots, and he ensured he exhibited regularly in Norwich. Even when his landscapes depicted sights from further afield, he never forgot the roots of his artistic career.
Born in Norwich.
Exhibited at the Royal Academy, British Institution, and Suffolk Street.
Married Anna Marie Hodgson.
Died in Yarmouth.