Art Term

St John’s Wood clique

A loose association of painters who lived in the St John’s Wood area of London in the 1870s and 1880s, and who aimed to seek a fresh approach to historical subjects

William Frederick Yeames, ‘Amy Robsart’ exhibited 1877
William Frederick Yeames
Amy Robsart exhibited 1877
Tate
Frederick Walker, ‘The Woman in White’ 1871
Frederick Walker
The Woman in White 1871
Tate
Philip Hermogenes Calderon, ‘St Elizabeth of Hungary’s Great Act of Renunciation’ 1891
Philip Hermogenes Calderon
St Elizabeth of Hungary’s Great Act of Renunciation 1891
Tate

In the second half of the nineteenth century the St John’s Wood area of London became a popular location for artists, giving rise to the St John’s Wood Clique. They often also rented Hever Castle in Kent during the summer as an authentic background for their work.

The leader of the group was Philip Hermogenes Calderon together with Frederick Goodall, George Adolphus Storey and William Yeames. Their treatment of historical subject matter resulted in such strangely compelling works as Calderon’s St Elizabeth and Yeames’s Amy Robsart. Yeames also produced one of the most famous Victorian historical pictures, the Civil War subject, When Did You Last See Your Father, in Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

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