Frith was born in Yorkshire; he studied painting at Sass's Academy and at the Royal Academy Schools. In the 1840s he was a member of the group of young painters, known as The Clique, who shared a dissatisfaction with the current state of the arts and as such anticipated the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1851 Frith, perhaps influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and the modern life subjects that they had by then exhibited, produced the first of a series of contemporary subjects: Ramsgate Sands. This was followed by Derby Day (1858) and The Railway Station (1862). Frith did continue to paint the historical and literary subjects that he had concentrated on in the 1840s, but much more interesting are his contemporary subjects, which are always rich with anecdotal and moralistic ingredients. Frith exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1840 until 1902 and may be regarded as the pre-eminently "victorian" artist.
Bills, Mark, and Vivien Knight, eds. William Powell Frith: Painting the Victorian Age. New Haven & London: Yale Univ. Press, 2006. 180 + xi pp. Hardback, £40.00. Paperback, £20.00. ISBN 0-300-12190-3. [Review by Jacqueline Banerjee, Contributing Editor, UK]
Frith, William Powell. My Autobiography and Reminiscences, London: Bentley & Son, 1887-88.
Newall, Christopher. A Celebration of British and European Painting of the 19th and 20th Centuries. London: Peter Nahum, nd [1999?]. Pp. 38-39.
Noakes, Aubrey. William Frith Extraordinary Victorian Painter: A Biographical and Critical Essay. London: Jupiter, 1978.
Last modified 19 April 2013