Fildes, Samuel Luke

BORN 18 Oct 1844, Liverpool, Lancashire - DIED 27 Feb 1927, London
GRAVE LOCATION Brookwood, Surrey: Brookwood Cemetery (plot 036)

Luke Fildes was adopted as a child by his grandmother, the political activist Mary Fildes. He studied at the Warrington School of Art and at the South Kensington Art School. In 1869 he became a member of the editorial board of The Graphic, the magazine of the social reformer William Luson Thomas.

After he saw Fildes' work John Millais brought it to the attention of Charles Dickens, who commissioned him with illustrations for "The Mystery of Edwin Drood", Dickens' last and unfinished novel. From 1870 onwards he fully focused on oil painting. In 1874 he married the painter Fanny Woods (1851-1927). During the 1880s he mostly worked as a portrait painter, but his realism wasn't always appreciated by the sitters. After Cecil Rhodes' saw his painting he stated that he would burn it after delivery. Fildes returned his payment and kept the painting.

When Sir Henry Tate asked him for a painting for his new museum he created "The Doctor", about the death of his son (now in the Tate Gallery). This painting became very popular with the public. His portrait of Edward VII is now in the National Portrait Gallery in London. He was knighted in 1906 and he painted Edward again shortly before the king's death.


The grave of Luke Fildes at Brookwood Cemetery, Woking.
Picture by Androom (25 Jun 2009)


The grave of Luke Fildes at Brookwood Cemetery, Woking.
Picture by Androom (25 Jun 2009)


"Edward VII".
   (1902, London: National Portrait Gallery)

• Clarke, John M., London's Necropolis, A Guide to Brookwood Cemetery, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2004

Finkenzeller, Heli

Published: 01 Nov 2009
Last update: 20 May 2023