GRIFFITHS, JOHN (1837 - 1918), artist

Name: John Griffiths
Date of birth: 1837
Date of death: 1918
Parent: Mary Griffiths (née Evans)
Parent: Evan Griffiths
Gender: Male
Occupation: artist
Area of activity: Art and Architecture
Author: Charles Heber Humphreys

Born at Llanfair Caereinion, Montgomeryshire, 29 November 1837, son of Evan Griffiths and his wife Mary Evans of Machynlleth; on his father's death, his mother became housekeeper to Sir James Clarke, physician to queen Victoria. The boy was brought up by his uncle Richard Griffiths, of Neuadd Uchaf farm, Llanfair. Noting his artistic leanings, Sir James had him trained at what is now the Royal College of Art; he then went into the service of the South Kensington museum, and was engaged in decorating its buildings. In 1865 he became professor of art at the Bombay school of arts, of which he was later principal; his chief associate and friend there, from 1865 till 1875, was John Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard Kipling. It was under Griffiths's superintendence that much of the decoration of the new public buildings of Bombay was designed. But his most valuable service was to preserve and bring to light the native art of India in older times. In particular, he copied the paintings in the Buddhist cave-temples of Ajanta, dating from c. 200 B.C. - his copies were deposited at South Kensington and two folio volumes of them were published by order of the India office in 1896-7. His own paintings (exhibited at the Royal Academy) were of Indian scenery and native life; two of his works are in Her Majesty the Queen's collection. Retiring from India in 1895, he lived for a while at Gwernydd, Manafon, Montgomeryshire, but afterwards at Norton, Sherborne, where he died 1 December 1918. He was married, and had two daughters.


Published date: 1959

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