Thursday, April 29, 2010


Portrait Of The Artist
Watercolour and bodycolour, 1915
Private collection
From ARC

Biographical Information:
• George Owen Wynne Apperley R.I. R.A.
• Born 17th June 1884 in Ventnor, Isle of Wight, England.
• Died in Tangier, 1960.
• Educated at Eagle House, Sandhurst and at Uppingham School.
• Studied art at Herkomer Academy, Bushey, Herts.
• He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in London, 1905.
• Mounted his first individual exhibition in London,1906.
• Elected as a member of the Royal Institute of Watercolour Artists in 1913.
• Moved to Spain in 1916.
• In 1932 during the civil war he left Spain and took up residence in Tangier.
• In 1937 he received the Order of the Mehdavia ('Comendador de la Mehdavia').
• In 1945 he was awarded the Order of Alfonso The Wise ('Encomienda de Alfonso X El Sabio') by the Spanish Government - an honour which no other British painter received during his lifetime.
• In 1951 he was elected as a Distinguished Member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Málaga, Spain.
George Owen Wynne Apperley was born in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight and died in Tangier. His early childhood was spent in Seaside towns on the South coast of England and in Alton, Hampshire. It was here when George was six that his father died in a hunting accident, leading his mother to take him to Torquay where they then settled. His mother later remarried.
It was not felt fitting that an Apperley should become simply a painter — indeed George's stepfather was keen for him to maintain the family tradition and join the military while his mother harboured a desire for him to join the Church.
Apperley's interest in art however was obsessive and he was sent, in consequence, to school at Sandhurst and later to Uppingham — both renowned for their disciplinarianism. Here he showed little interest in academic subjects other than art and later persuaded his family that a tutor would be more beneficial to him.
In 1903 he enrolled at Herkomer's but his rebellious streak and his somewhat Bohemian lifestyle led to his expulsion the following year — the teachers at the school were not impressed by his work. He returned to home tutorials, and, in 1904, with his tutor, Major Wilkinson, he visited Italy. It was on this tour that his serious art education began.
When he returned he began to paint seriously and to show and sell his work. In 1907 he married Miss Hilda Pope, a union not deemed to be fitting by her parents, and the couple honeymooned in Lugano. On their return they established their home in West Hampstead, London, for the first time affording Apperley a stable base from which to develop his painting techniques and to exhibit more frequently.
He had exhibitions of his work at the Baillie Gallery London (1906), Leicester Galleries in 1908 and 1910, and his work was noticed favorably by Huntly Carter in a New Age report on the Leicester Gallery show. 
(Brown University and The University of Tulha at
A working holiday to Spain in 1914 was to sow the seeds for a potential turning point in Apperley's life. It was to be the first of many visits here and was also his first tour alone. He was fascinated by the place and felt that only by seeing more could he fully understand the country. The material, particularly watercolours that he painted on that first visit, show quite plainly the inspiration that he found there..... Only shortly after Apperley returned to Britain from this first trip the First World War broke out. This dismal backdrop left the Artist finding it increasingly difficult to find inspiration in his native England and he reflected ever more on the tranquil time which he had spent in Spain. Having been pronounced unfit for military service he was gripped by depression and was advised by his doctors to travel south to a more temperate climate. He took no further bidding, Apperley left for Spain for the second time, alone, in 1916 leaving his English family behind, never to return to them.
(Apperley Art UK)

 La Alhambra desde mi estudio
The Alhambra From My Studio
Watercolour, 1921

 La cenicienta
Oil, 1932
 La Cordobesa
Watercolour, 1923
 Jardin de mi casa, Granada
View from my studio in Granada
Watercolour, 1956
From Apperley Art (UK)

Sangre torera
From Apperley Art (UK)
With newfound inspiration in his new surroundings the breadth of the Artist's subject matter increased with landscapes becoming predominantly Spanish and with portraits of exotic Spanish ladies and the 'Gitanos' of the Albaicin becoming a central theme of his work. After a short time in Madrid Apperley gravitated back to his best loved Andalusia and Granada where he set up his studio in the Placeta de San Nicolas, close to the gypsy quarter.....
Apperley became recognised in the leading Spanish artistic circles as a result of an exhibition arranged by the Town Hall and the Centro Artistico to celebrate Corpus Christi (1917). Many of Spain's leading artists were to attend and Apperley's contributions were pre-raphaelite in theme. His painting 'The Rose' took first prize and secured him high acclaim.
(Apperley Art UK)

The Roses
From Apperley Art UK

Amongst portraits from that time there is a drawing, 'Cinderella', this was of the young Enriqueta Contreras who was to become his second wife. Apperley's work flourished and established the interest of many aficionados and collectors. He was able to mount his first one man exhibition in Spain (Madrid) in November 1918 and was honoured to have it opened by the King and Queen of Spain). It was probably this exhibition that established him as a major Artist in his new adopted homeland.
(Apperley Art UK)


Drawing, 1919
From Apperley Art UK


enrikapp said...

Many thanks for your interest in my father's work. Regards. Enrique Riki Apperley.

enrikapp said...

I like the post about my father G.O.W. Apperley but one of the pictures "Gypsy girl" is NOT by my father. Thanks for correcting. Enrique Riki Apperley

rompedas said...

Thanks enrikapp for the correction. The post was updated.