Briton Riviere (British 1840-1920)
Briton Riviere came from a family of no fewer than four generations of exhibitors at the London Royal Academy. Born in London in 1840, he was drawing and painting at an early age. His father, feeling that knowledge of Fine Arts should be an essential part of an education, and being Master of the drawing school at Cheltenham College, gave him his initial lessons. He was also to study later with John Pettie and William Orchardson.
At the age of eleven, two of his pictures were exhibited at the British Institution. Eventually Riviere entered Oxford, receiving a B.A. in 1867 and an M.A. in 1873. At the time of his graduation he was already an exhibitor at the Royal Academy ,but it wasn’t until 1866 that the artist received popular notice.
Riviere was elected an Associate of the Academy in 1878 and became a full Academician two years later. The artist was extremely successful, and, thanks to his engravings, known worldwide. Although from time to time he attempted classical or allegorical themes, it was the sympathetic relationship between man and dog that brought him fame and fortune.
Harry How, who described the artist as “an exceedingly modest man – he would prefer to speak generously about other men and their work rather than look back upon his own.”
Paintings by Rivière are held by public institutions including the Tate Museum, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, and the Royal Holloway, University of London.