Godward, John William

BORN 9 Aug 1861, London: Wimbledon - DIED 13 Dec 1922, London
GRAVE LOCATION London: Brompton Cemetery, Old Brompton Road, West Brompton (near the graves of Henry Cole and Frederick Sandys)

John William Godward's wealthy family disapproved of his intention to become an artist. He decided to do so anyway and became one of the best followers of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, painting beautiful women in classical surroundings with lots of marmor. He worked in London (where he lived in Wilton Grove) and from 1887 onwards he exhibited at the Royal Academy. He was reclusive and little is known about his life.

In 1912 he moved to Italy with one of his models and at this point his family broke off all contact, going as far as removing his image from family pictures. He lived in Rome from 1912 to 1919 and returned to England in that year. By that time his pictures were widely regarded as old-fashioned. This was probably a reason for a deep depression resulting in suicide by putting his head in a gas oven. It was said that he left a suicide note that said that the world wasn't big enough for him and Picasso.

After his death his family burned his papers and as far as known no photograph of himself survived. After his father died in 1904 he had bought a grave for him at Brompton Cemetery and there he was buried, not far from the painters Frederick Sandys, James Godwin and Val Prinsep.

Work: "The Betrothed" (1892, Guildhall Art Gallery, London); "On the Balcony" (1898, Manchester City Art Gallery); "Dolce Far Niente" (1904, second version, Collection Andrew Lloyd Webber).

Related persons
• was influenced by Alma-Tadema, Lawrence


The grave of John William Godward at Brompton Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (13 May 2011)


The grave of John William Godward at Brompton Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (13 May 2011)


"The Betrothed".
   (1892, London: Guildhall Art Gallery)

John William Godward - Wikipedia
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Godwin, George

Published: 12 Jan 2013
Last update: 19 Sep 2015