Arthur Boyd Houghton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Houghton cartoon published by Fun magazine in 1886

Arthur Boyd Houghton (13 March 1836 – 25 November 1875) was a British painter (oil and watercolours) and illustrator.

Houghton was born in Kotagiri, Madras, India. His work was varied and was highly regarded during the mid-19th century.[citation needed] He traveled to America and Russia, creating illustrations for The Graphic and for numerous books, including The Arabian Nights and Don Quixote. His work was strongly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

He played a leading role in the renaissance of wood-engraved illustration during the golden decade of English book illustration (c. 1860–75), when a new school of artists overcame the limitations of the medium. Deeply influenced by the idealism of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, he imbued both his paintings and drawings with a haunting blend of poetic realism.[citation needed] He was the fourth son of Captain John Michael Houghton (1797–1874), who served in the East India Company's Marine as a draughtsman.

Laurence Housman produced a selection from his work which was dedication to the artist’s daughter Mrs E.C. Davis. (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trúbner & Co., 1896).

Paul Hogarth wrote a biography and monograph (London: Gordon Fraser, 1981).

Work by this artist is held within various public collections including Tate Britain in London; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford;[1] British Museum, London; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as well as a number of private collections around the world.

Houghton is best known for wood-engravings but also produced a number of oil paintings and watercolours (usually based upon earlier wood-engravings), many of his wife and children. He also wrote a little poetry which was published in his lifetime. When still a child, a shot fired from a toy cannon left him blind in one eye, and unable to sustain his concentration when painting large works for exhibition at the Royal Academy.[2] He died in London.


  1. ^ Arthur Boyd Houghton paintings, BBC - Your Paintings. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
  2. ^ Arthur Boyd Houghton - The Brother and Sister of the Artist playing Chess, British Paintings blog.