Lionel Edwards, born in Bristol in 1878, was one of the most popular illustrators of hunting and sporting subjects of the twentieth century.
He grew up in North Wales following country pursuits rather than a formal education. Although originally destined for the army, a brief spell with the military proved that this was a career for which he had no aptitude. However, from the age of six he had been actively drawing horses and therefore his mother encouraged his artistic vocation. He studied in London at Heatherly’s School of Art, the equivalent of the Atelier Julien in Paris.
Edwards is known as the Grand Old Man of Sporting Art because he was an ardent hunter and brilliant draftsman. He was perfectly equipped to portray the frisson of the hunting field: hounds with tongues rolling in exhaustion, strained finely tuned horses on the alert for their next cue, and earnest fraught riders completely absorbed in the physical exertion of thundering over the raw winter land at breakneck pace.
Lionel Edwards was deeply involved with and committed to British field sports, even including the challenge of the weather. Having worked for The Graphic and Punch before the First World War, he was increasingly drawn to hunting and sporting art, writing and illustrating many books on field sports. His experience during the First World War in the army remount service, when he had “four solid years of nothing but horse”, brought an exciting realism to his art. His paintings are usually endowed with “tempered” colours reflecting the climate and light, and the influence of these two factors on the British countryside.
Lionel Edwards died in 1966.