Arthur Wardle1864 - 1949
Born: 1864, London, England
Died: July 16, 1949, London, England
Arthur Wardle did not receive a formal academy art training, but took lessons with local artists from his neighborhood. In 1880 at the age of 16, Wardle had his first exhibition at the Royal Academy. In the 1890s, with the improvement of his technical painting skills, he began painting animals. Studying and sketching at the London Zoo, Wardle painted wildlife, domestic animals and sporting scenes.
Wardle often included biblical and mythical subjects in his animal paintings, which attracted more attention from the art critics and societies. These wildlife paintings set his reputation in the art world, but the public mainly became familiar with his work through his widely reproduced dog paintings. Wardle painted dog portraits for B. Rawdon Lee's books and designed 250 sets of cigarette cards depicting dogs for several tobacco companies, including Players, Ltd. Wardle's dog paintings appeared on stationary, postcards, playing cards, calendars, and biscuit tins.
Wardle painted in watercolor, oil and pastel. The National Museum of Wildlife Art's Study of a Resting Lioness exhibits Wardle's mastery of the pastel medium. The lioness' coat is rendered in orange hues picking up hints of the complementary blue paper. Wardle was skilled at conveying action, but also the details of an animal's markings and fur. Wardle preferred pastel because it was easy to transport and drawings could be executed with speed. For this reason, he found pastel the perfect medium for sketching active animals.
Wardle was a member of the Royal British Colonial Society of Artists, the Pastel Society and the Royal Institute for Painters in Watercolor. His work is recognized in the Tate Gallery and the National Museum of Wildlife Art, as well as museums in New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.