Myles Birket Foster

The swing

Watercolour and bodycolour: 11(h) x 16.5(w) in /

27.9(h) x 41.9(w) cm

Signed with monogram lower right

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SP 822 VE



North Shields 1825 – 1899 Weybridge


The swing


Signed with monogram lower right

Watercolour and bodycolour:

11 x 16 ½ in / 27.9 x 41.9 cm

Framed: 20 7/8 x 25 ¾ in / 53 x 65.4 cm



Private collection, UK



Possibly London, The Royal Society of Painters in Water-colours, Summer Exhibition, 1865, no. 314



Myles Birket Foster was the son of one of the most accomplished watercolourists of the Victorian era.  Born in North Shields, he went to London at an early age and began his career apprenticeship to Ebenezer Landells, a wood engraver and pupil of Bewick.  He was then employed as a draughtsman under Henry Vizeteely and illustrated Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Evangeline and Roger’s Italy.


During the 1850s, he turned to painting primarily in watercolour and was elected an Associate of the Old Watercolour Society in 1860 and was made a full member of the Watercolour Society in 1862.  He also exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy between 1859 and 1881.


Birket Foster travelled considerably during his career; in 1852, 1853 and 1861, he visited the Rhine and made many sketches.  In 1868, Foster went to Venice to visit his close friends Sir William Quiller Orchardson and Fred Walker.  The artist was to return to Italy many times and was commissioned by Charles Seely to make fifty drawings of Venice for £5,000.  In 1853, he built a house at Witley, near Godalming.  Foster found the Surrey countryside particularly inspirational; his watercolours of the region near Witley have made the area famous.


VictorianMyles Birket Foster