Rivière, Briton, (1840-1920), English painter, etcher, and sculptor
Omeka record contributed by Michelle Malmberg
December 8, 2016
August 14, 1840
April 20, 1920
Briton Riviere was born on August 14, 1840, in London, England. He came from a family of artists of Huguenot descent—his father, William Riviere, was an art teacher, and his uncle, Henry Parsons Riviere, was a painter as well. He was the youngest child of his siblings, and was trained by his own father in art from 1851 to 1859. By 1852, the young Riviere even had oil paintings of animals exhibited at the British Institution. In 1859 he exhibited for the second time at the Royal Academy and his family moved to Oxford so that his father to teach. There he received a BA degree in 1866, an MA in 1873, and an honorary DCL degree in 1891. At Oxford he met his wife, Mary Alice Dobell, who introduced him to the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1869 he had his first child, a son named Hugh Goldwin Riviere. After his marriage to Mary Dobell, he moved to Kent and tried his hand at more Pre-Raphaelite-styled historical paintings, but went back to animal painting, which sold better. Riviere had a distinct way of using sentimentality and pathos in his animal paintings that caused his body of work to become very popular. Many of his animal paintings were accepted to the Royal Academy, which helped his fame grow. In 1878 he was elected an official associate of the Royal Academy. Riviere’s good reputation and popularity for the most part remained strong after 1884, although eventual financial troubles would inhibit him somewhat. Riviere had 7 children in total. He began doing more portrait paintings when academic painting inevitably started to decline in value in order to make an income. In 1891, Riviere was awarded the honor of having Sir William Armstrong publish a monograph for him in the Art Annual. When Millais died in 1896, Riviere was almost elected president of the Royal Academy, but was passed up for the role. In 1910 he was given an honorary fellowship from the Oriel College at Oxford. At some point before his death he moved to 82 Finchley Road in Hampstead, London. Riviere eventually died on April 20, 1920, at his Hampstead home.
“Briton Riviere,” Victorian Artists at Home, accessed December 1, 2023, https://artistsathome.emorydomains.org/items/show/351.