Arthur Alfred Burrington 1856-1924

Arthur Alfred Burrington RI, ROI

Mr. Robin De Smet has very kindly provided us with this following information, after finding this memorial on our website. This is memorial no. 140, a large square plinth bearing the inscription. Upon this was a carved boulder, from which sprouted a cross, carved to look as if it had been made from two logs. The memorial is in dire need of repair. 

The inscription reads:
'Ellen Atwell wife of Edwin H. Burrington who died October 24th 1883 aged 58 years.
Edwin H. Burrington who died January 16th 1892 aged 71 years.

Harry Herbert Burrington, died Dec. 3 1877 aged 26.
In Memory of Harley Burrington who died for his country July 23rd 1915 aged 31 years buried at Boulogne.
In Memory of Arthur Alfred Burrington who died at San Vigilio, Italy on Oct 9th 1924 aged 68.
In Memory of Gilbert Burrington died for his country on the Somme Nov 21st 1916 aged 32 years.
In Memory of Gilbert George Burrington May 22nd 1908 aged 55 years.
Madeline Burrington died May 12th 1890 aged 16 months'.

The memorial in 1991
The memorial in 2010

Small biographies of Gilbert and Harley Burrington can be found on our Great War Feature page.


This revised article originally appeared in The Bulletin de la Société d'Art et D'Historie de Mentonnais, translated into French.

'A visit from Grandfather - a Somersetshire cottage' Oil by A Burrington 1886 28½"x 38" Probably Arthur's family as the figures appear in other paintings by him. The seated figure is perhaps Edwin.

Arthur Alfred Burrington was born in Bridgwater, Somerset in the West country of England in 1856. His father, Edwin Henry Burrington, a leather merchant and published poet (author of Revelations of the Beautiful), had six children, four sons (Harry Herbert BurringtonGilbert George Burrington, Arthur and Frederick Frank Burrington) and two daughters (Kate Burrington and Madeline Burrington) although one daughter died in infancy (Madeline). Arthur was born in 13 Fore Street. However 6 West Quay in the picturesque part of the town on the quayside was where the children grew up. As a child he was fond of drawing and at school he was always top of the class for drawing and painting.

6 West Quay, where Arthur was raised.
13 Fore Street, where Arthur was born.

His parents, impressed by his unmistakable talent, allowed him to enter the South Kensington School of Art in London. On leaving there he went to Rome to study the great masters and after visiting all the celebrated centres of art in Italy, especially Venice, he returned to England for further studies, this time at the Slade School. Then back to the continent where he completed a two-year training period in Paris. He used to say that he considered that the teaching there was better than in any other centre of art. His master was the well-known portrait painter Bonnat, and subsequently at the École des Beaux-Arts he worked under Boulanger and Cormon and always remembered these masters with gratitude. He again returned to his own country for a short time and then joined the colony of artists of the international schools of painting at Pont-Aven in Brittany. Here he met other young enthusiasts, several of whom such as Stanhope Forbes and Frank Brangwyn have since become famous. Forbes also studied for two years with Bonnat in Paris.

One of Burrington's paintings in his home town: 'The Moor', 1924. Reproduced with the permission of the Blake Museum, Bridgwater. It may be seen in greater quality here.

Burrington exhibited his works in England, France, Tasmania and America. Between 1888 and 1918 he exhibited 19 works at the Royal Academy London including in 1905 an oil which he considered his best work, 'The Fête of The Patron Saint in Castellar'.

''The Fête of The Patron Saint in Castellar'' Oil.

His other exhibitions included the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, London (162), Royal Institute of Painters in Oils, London (22) and a one-man exhibition of watercolours, 'In Gardens Fair and Meadows Sweet' in 1905 at the Leicester Galleries in London. This exhibition of 73 paintings included many of Menton and the surrounding districts as did his 1899 exhibition at the Fine Art Society in London, entitled 'A Season On The Riviera', again solely devoted to his pictures. He evidently fell in love with Menton and discovered its delights for an artist early in his professional life.

'The Market Place' (Menton) Exhibited at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in 1909, price £68-5-0. Watercolour 20" x 28" (51x71cms) (DeSmet Collection)

Other exhibitions included the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool (19), Manchester City Art Galleries (10) Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (6) and the Royal West of England Academy Bristol (32). Other works were shown at the Paris Salon (1882 and 1898), the Franco-British Exhibition London in 1908, the St Louis International in 1905 and the Hobart International in Tasmania in 1896 as well as The New Gallery London. His annual exhibitions in Menton held at Grenier's music shop and Reynaud's on the Avenue Félix-Fauré were a great success. Annualy for many years about thirty of his paintings were shown which were mainly of local interest many of which quickly found buyers. As a reviewer pointed out at that time his prices were ridiculously low.

The 'Châlet des Rêves'

He was, like so many artists before and since, drawn to the particular beauties of the Cote d'Azur with its light and vibrant colours and to Menton in particular. He came to Menton to live and settled happily at his aptly named 'Châlet des Rêves' in the Val Du Borrigo. He had a lovely view of the mountains from his garden (who hadn't at that time?) and one of his paintings is called 'The Berceau Snow-clad (from my studio roof, Menton)'. He lived in his little house, as it was described, for about 20 years.

'Mentone Harbour' Exhibition price in 1910 £36-15-0. Watercolour 11" x 15" (28x38cms) (De Smet Collection)

He loved to paint everyday life as he saw it around him. The farm workers, the fishermen returning to the harbour with their latest catch, the lemon gatherers at Lodola, and several paintings featured a shepherd and sheep among the olive trees. Some of his pictures of local interest depicted scenes from Vence, St Agnes, Monte Carlo, Nice, Cap Martin the gardens of Mortola at Ventimiglia (now the Hanbury Gardens) and, of course, many of his beloved Menton.

He was described in the Menton and Monte Carlo News, where his annual exhibitions were reviewed, as 'A charming and sympathetic person' and his generosity was well known in Menton during his many happy years there.

During the First World War he started a Burrington Tombola for which he donated watercolours and prints of his pictures as prizes. The proceeds were given to the wounded soldiers of Menton who suffered so terribly during this time. The name of Burrington was often included on monthly subscription lists to aid the afflicted and for the 'soupes populaires' fund which provided two meals a day for the very poor of Menton.

Arthur Burrington (seated) c.1917. Taken at a military hospital in Menton where he assisted, receiving a Red Cross medal for his services. His wife worked there as a nurse.

He married a French lady in Wales in 1889, Marie Madeleine Caroline Julia Ferucia (neé Gugard) of Paris. She worked during the war at the Entente Cordiale Hospital (The Imperial Hotel). In fact the constant strain of having to look after so many injured during this period and the pressures put upon her were, it is said, mainly responsible for her death in 1920. The Burringtons had no children and Marie is buried, only eight metres away from the grave of the famous artist Aubrey Beardsley, in the lovely Cemetery du Trabuquet which is on a hill behind the old town of Menton overlooking the harbour and the Italian border.

Arthur loved Menton and its people. The valleys, olive groves, mountains churches and wayside shrines often featured in his work. In common with so many of us he disliked the modernisation and development of the countryside. The following letter which he wrote to his local weekly newspaper bears this out.

'Sir, Report says that a proposal is on foot to make driving roads and build villas on the slopes of the Arbutus Ridge (Val de la Modonne), the Annonciata and the Riguadi quarter, thus robbing Mentone of her beauty spots and her charm of easy access to the country. May I venture to hope that you will use your influence to prevent this? I am, Sir, Yours truly Arthur A. Burrington Châlet des Rêves, December 8th 1913. '

The following is part of an editorial on this subject (not by Arthur) in the same issue of this newspaper (The Menton and Monte Carlo News) '....We believe that there are many who on reading the letter published in another column from Mr Burrington R.I. will be deeply sorry to see that there is a possibility of a fatal blow being struck at a particularly delightful beauty spot in the immediate neighbourhood of Menton. The very thought of driving roads and villas on the slopes of the Arbutus Ridge (Val de la Madonne), the Annonciata and the Riguardi quarter is almost enough to send some people searching elsewhere for a fresh corner of undefiled nature.'

Lake Garda
San Vigilio

Arthur died on 9th October 1924 whilst on a painting holiday at San Vigilio, Lake Garda, Italy. He was 68 years old. San Vigilio is a pretty little inlet with only a few buildings on the shores of Lake Garda in Italy. The following extract is taken from page 276 of the book by actress Lillie Langtry entitled The Days I Knew, which was published in 1925: 'Artists, above all, love this beautiful shore, and there is the pathetic story of the recent death of Arthur Burrington, the water colourist, who spent so much of his time here. He fell dead at his easel while painting in the woods, and, as his body could not be moved without the consent of the authorities, the peasants placed candles at his head and feet, and watched over him. What a wonderful cathedral in which to lie in state, with tall pines as the pillars, the blue Italian sky as the dome, birds as choristers, and the simple people he had known and loved as the principal mourners'. He is buried in an imposing tomb in a sheltered cloister at the lovely cemetery in Garda amongst the pines, trees and flowers of which he was so fond.

Arthur's Italian tomb in Garda cemetery.

The author of this article is researching the life and works of this talented but now rather neglected artist. He has listed nearly 600 of his works and is anxious to hear of any paintings which readers might either possess or be aware of. Dating of works is often possible although Burrington, more often than not, left his paintings undated himself. Any information provided will of course be treated with discretion. If any reader has any further information on Arthur Burrington or his wife Marie he would be very pleased to hear from them. Any replies could be sent to him direct by email here (or contact the Friends to forward on). Thank you.

His Friend, Claude Monet

'Portrait of an English Artist, Claud Monet, 1884, Oil 20" x 16" (52x41cms)

It is thought that this oil by Claude Monet, painted at Bordighera near Menton in 1884, depicts Arthur Burrington. Burrington owned the picture until he sold it in 1908 for 2000 francs. It is currently in the collection of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Isreal.

For more information see Martin Bailey 'Monet's portrait of an English Artist' (publication details to follow) and Leslie Parke 'Monet's Self Portrait - NOT'.

Works by Arthur Alfred Burrington

'A Gondola Race on the Grand Canal, Venice' c.1914 Watercolour 9" x 14" (22x36cms)
'Bignonia at Villa Carlotta, Cadenabbia, Lake Como.' Watercolour 9½" x 13½" (24x34cms)
'The Morning Promenade, Monte Carlo' 1899 Watercolour 9¾" x 6¼" (25x16cms)
'On the Boulevard, Garavan, Menton' 1907 Watercolour 20" x 13¾" (51x35cms)
Date and title unknown - Italian lake scene. Watercolour 8" x 11" (20x28cms) (De Smet Collection)
'View of Menton from the Cap Martin' 1914 Watercolour 14" x 20" (36x51cms)
'Going to Market' 1899 Oil 15" x 11" (38x28cms) (De Smet Collection)
'Little Fishermen of Morges' (Switzerland, Lake Geneva) 1908 Watercolour 7" x 15" (18x38cms) (De Smet Collection)
'Flower Seller (Algiers)' 1882 Watercolour 14" x 9" (36x22cms) (De Smet Collection)
'Corfe Castle- A Sea Fog' 1921 Watercolour 14¼" x 21" (36x53cms)(De Smet Collection)
'A Knitting Lesson' 1907 Watercolour 13¾" x 20¼" (35x51.5cms) (De Smet Collection)
'His Foster Mother' 1909 Watercolour 10½" x 14½" (27x37cms) (De Smet Collection)
'Valerian, Dartmouth' Exhibited January 1909 at the Royal Institute, London, Price £9-9-0 and also at the South Wales Art Society. Watercolour 14½" x 10½" (37x27cms) (De Smet Collection)
'Ballaugh Curragh, Isle of Man' 1921 Watercolour 14" x 20½" (36x52cms) (De Smet Collection)
'Women Washing at the Frontier, Menton' 1909 Watercolour 13" x 26¼" (33.5x67cms)
'At The Fountain' 1904 Watercolour 20" x 16.5" (51X42cms) (De Smet Collection)