GILES, Godfrey Douglas

1857 - 1941

Godfrey Douglas Giles, was born at Karachi, now named Kurrachee, Pakistan on 9 November and baptised on 28 December 1857, son of Capt. Edward Giles and his wife Emily née Atkins. Godfrey entered Sandhurst to launch his military career, a sub-lieutenant on 10 September 1875 being posted to India and on 10 November 1879 promoted captain 7th Foot on Bombay Staff Corps. With the 1st Sindh Horse, he served in the Second Afghan War being present at the battle of Hhuski-Nakhuda in February 1879 and later painted the 'Charge of the Sindh Horse at Khuski-Nakhuda'. He accompanied the Gordon Relief Expedition to Sudan and commanded the Turkish cavalry at El Teb, providing a sketch of the battle, which was the basis for a large fold-out panorama of the battle in 'The Graphic' of 1 March 1884 and, when he returned to Cairo, painting a scene of the battle in which year he was awarded the Order of the Osmanieh by the Khedive of Egypt. He retired from the army in 1884 and the following year he went to Paris and studied under Charles Emile Carolus-Duran (1838-1917) and successfully exhibited paintings such as 'The Battle of Tamai' and 'El Teb' at the Paris Salon and at the Royal Academy, after which he settled in Newmarket, Suffolk where he was able to depict horses and horse-racing scenes, his illustrations also appeared in the weekly 'Black & White Budget' in 1891. At the outbreak of the Boer War in South Africa in 1899, Giles was sent by 'The Graphic' and 'The Daily Graphic' as war correspondent and artist, being attached to French's 1st Cavalry Brigade and witnessed the surrender of General Pieter Cronjé (1836-1911) after the Battle of Pardeberg and was present at the subsequent relief of Kimberley being awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal on 12 February 1903. On 20 January 1904 he was promoted captain in the Duke of York's Own Loyal Suffolk Hussars and the Artists’ Rifle Corps. Giles contributed greatly to the pictorial record of the Boer War with works on display in museums in both South Africa and in England. His sporting works include ‘The Finish of the Derby 1893’, painted for Mrs McAlmont who won the Derby that year with ‘Isinglass’ also ‘The Derby 1901’, ‘The Worksop Handicap, Chesterfield 1894’. He also painted polo, hunting and pig-sticking scenes and illustrated work for 'The Badminton Library' and 'Vanity Fair' and became well-known through the prints that ensued. He exhibited at Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts; Grosvenor Gallery; Liverpool Walker Art Gallery; Manchester City Art Gallery; Royal Society of British Artists; Royal Institute of British Painters and the Royal Scottish Academy giving his address as the Junior Army & Navy Club, London in 1882 and from Newmarket in 1904. In 1907, Giles was an artist, living at Douglas Lodge, Cheveley Road, Newmarket with his Scottish born wife Alice Evelyn née Barclay and daughter Evelyn Ursula (Duffas 2 July 1896-12 October 1977), before finally settling in Scotland and died at 9 Forres Street, Edinburgh on 1 February 1941, aged 83. His wife died at 17 Athol Crescent, Edinburgh on 9 August 1934, aged 76.




Works by This Artist