Walter Frederick Osborne
Walter Osborne entered the RHA Schools in 1876. He may have studied at the Metropolitan School and was probably a student of Augustus Burke. He began exhibiting at the RHA in 1877, winning the Taylor Scholarship for ú50, which enabled him to study abroad. Before travelling abroad he had painted both animals and landscapes, his father being an animal painter. Not surprisingly, on arriving in Antwerp in 1881, he enrolled in the Natur class of Verlat, a noted animal and genre painter. In 1882 he enrolled in the Life classes. The following year he exhibited several Flemish pictures at the RHA. His work from this period is characterised by a dark precision. On leaving Antwerp to work in Brittany, mainly at Quimperle and Dinan, his works take on a lightness of style and subject; he depicts farmyards, orchards and markets. In 1884 Osborne moved to England, painting with Nathaniel Hill at Walberswick, where he continued to paint the rural scenes - villages and cottage gardens -that he had painted on the Continent. An admirer of Cazin, Besnard and Manet, in the early 1890s an 'impressionistic' influence began to appear in his work. Yet again the dark tonalities yield to brighter colours with an increased interest in sunlight and shadow. Shapes are now loosely blocked in, the paint being freely applied. Light is now the salient feature of his compositions. These last canvases of his career would certainly qualify Osborne as the first 'Irish Impressionist'.