CROFTS, Ernest

1847 - 1911

Ernest Croft

Ernest Crofts was born at 7 Blenheim Terrace, Leeds, Yorkshire on 15 September 1847, second son of John Crofts, a non-practicing attorney and manufacturer, of Adal, near Leeds, and his wife Ellen née Wordsworth. In 1851, Ernest was a 3-year-old, living at 7 Blenheim Terrace, Leeds with his parents, 39-year-old John and 27-year-old Ellen, with siblings William Carr 5, born at Bradford and Arthur 1, born at Leeds, they retained three indoor servants. Ernest studied at Rugby School, then going to Berlin where he developed an interest in art and in a career as a painter. On his return to England, he became a pupil of Alfred Borron Clay (1831-1868), but then returned to Germany, this time to Düsseldorf, then a centre for historical painting, studying under German military artist, Emil Hünten (1827-1902), military and historical painter to the Prussian emperor. In 1874, he exhibited at the Royal Academy 'Retreat' an episode in the Franco-Prussian War during the Battle of Gravelotte, together with another scene from the same conflict 'One Touch of Nature' for which he won the Crystal Palace prize medal. Both scenes were influenced by the artist's experience of the war, especially the battles of Wissembourg, Worth, and the siege of Strasbourg. From Dusseldorf he regularly exhibited at the annual Royal Academy exhibitions, including 'Ligny' (1875) and the following year 'The Morning of the Battle of Waterloo', which was shown at the Paris International Exhibition, and in 1877 'Oliver Cromwell at Marston Moor'. Elected an Associate of the Royal Academy on 19 June 1878 and a full academician on 20 July 1896 and his Diploma Work was entitled 'To the Rescue'. Two years later, 29 September 1898, he succeeded Philip Calderon as keeper and trustee of the R.A., which gave him accommodation at Burlington House. Besides his historical scenes, Crofts also painted some contemporary military events and in 1901, King Edward VII commissioned him to paint a picture of the distribution of the war medals following the Boer War and two years later painted a scene of the funeral of Queen Victoria. He married in 1872, Elizabeth Wüsthofen of Düsseldorf, and they had one daughter, also Elizabeth, who was born at Düsseldorf. Crofts lived on The Green, next to Blythburgh Church in Suffolk, a house that he had converted from two old cottages, and he died, after car accident near his Blythburgh home, on 19 March 1911, and buried at Kensal Green Cemetery. A sale of his remaining works was held at Christie, Manson & Woods on Monday 18 December 1911. His wife Elizabeth, who died at Crofts Cottage, Priory Road, Blythburgh, Suffolk on 11 February 1941, aged 87, was also an artist.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from 34 Adlerstrasse, Dusseldorf
1874 1366 A Retread: Episode of the German-French War
1875 877 Ligny
from 54 Parliament Square, Southwest London
1876 1253 On the Morning of the Battle of Waterloo
1877 497 Oliver Cromwell at Marston Moor
         528 Ironsides returning from sacking a Cavalier's House
1878 609 Wellington's March from Quatre-Bras to Waterloo
from 58 St Mary's Terrace, Maida Hill, West London
1879 613 On the Evening of the Battle of Waterloo
from 1 Waverley Place, Grove End Road, Northwest London
1880 459 Marlborough after the Battle of Ramilies
1881 101 George II. at the Battle of Dettingen
1882 102 A pause in the attack, Hougoumont, Waterloo
         730 At the Farm of Mont St. John, Waterloo
from 2 Queen's Road Studios, St John's Wood
1883 201 At the Sign of the Blue Boar, Holborn
         1502 Charles I. on his way to his Execution
1884 873 Wallenstein: A scene from the Thirty Years' War
1885 1051 William III. at the Battle of Landen
from c/o W.C. Crofts, 4 Westminster Chambers, West London
1886 141 Farewell
         162 The Beacon Fire
         1027 The Return from a Raid
1887 458 Napoleon leaving Moscow
1888 746 Marston Moor
from 45 Grove End Road, Northwest London
1889 82 The Knight's Farewell
         164 The Boscobel Oak
         523 Hampden riding away form Chalgrove Field
1890 216 Whitehall January 30th, 1649
1891 332 The Morning of Waterloo: Napoleon's Headquarters
         1015 A Parliamentary Convoy surprised by Royalists
1892 311 The Gunpowder Plot
         331 Charles I. At Edge Hill
1893 7 Charge of the King's Own Light Dragoons, Moodkey
         445 Prince Rupert
1894 153 Roundheads Victorious
1895 499 Napoleon's last Grand Attack
1896 613 The capture of a French Battery by the 52nd Regiment at Waterloo
1898 2 To the rescue: An episode of the Civil War
         270 Charles II. at Whiteladies after the Battle of Worcester
from Burlington House, Piccadilly, London
1900 82 Oliver Cromwell at the Storming of Basing House
1901 75 An Affair of Honour
1903 167 Funeral of her late Majesty Queen Victoria
1904 223 Prince Rupert and his Staff at Marston Moor

Works by This Artist