ROWE, George James

1804 - 1883

George Rowe

George James Rowe was born at Weeley Camp, Essex on 24 September 1804, only son of George Rowe (1772-25 March 1843), an army surgeon in the 69th Foot, and his wife Susanna née Cook (1765-19 March 1843) who married at Seaford, Sussex on 21 October 1803 and both died within a week of each other. After a tour of duty including Ireland, in 1815 his father opened a practice in Well Street, Woodbridge, the same road to where Thomas Churchyard moved about 1825 and the two neighbouring aspiring artists began their lifelong friendship. At an early age Rowe drew a series of ‘Characters of Ipswich’ lithographed by Ipswich printer Stephen Piper between 1821-22 when Rowe would only have been about 17 years of age. In 1829 Rowe advertised his 'instructions in drawing' from his home at Drybridge, Woodbridge and in 1830 exhibited at the Norwich Society of Artists 'Study from Nature' and in the same year had his first exhibit accepted at the Royal Academy. Both Rowe and Churchyard left Woodbridge for London, with Rowe having studio at 13 Portland Town Road, Regents Park and Churchyard set up a studio at 7 Stamford Grove, Stamford Hill, Upper Clapton, Churchyard however returned to Woodbridge about 18 months later. In 1831 a local auctioneer advertised the sale of 'prints, drawings, paintings, and grease drawings of Mr. George Rowe, drawing master, who is leaving the town' this was followed by another auction at Woodbridge by Nursey & Elvis in 1836. Rowe’s parents died at Woodbridge in 1843 when he severs his connections with the town completely, with a final Woodbridge sale of effects, paintings etc., in 1844. He exhibited his works at the Royal Academy for the last time in 1854. In 1871, a lodger at 36 Cirencester Place and in 1881, at 155 Great Titchfield Street, Marylebone, London in both cases being described as having ‘no occupation’ and where he died, unmarried, on 5 February 1883, his age being given as 76 but the census records of 1871 and 1881 gives his age as 66 and 76 respectively. He had gradually become a recluse of an eccentric nature and had not left his room for eighteen months when he was found one day lying insensible and died the following day of ‘inflammation of the lungs’. Rowe’s sister, having emigrated to the USA in 1844, donated nearly 1,000 of his sketches, watercolours and prints to the Davenport Public Museum, Iowa, but these have since been dispersed. (The Hidden Art of George James Rowe of Woodbridge (Chloé Bennett, 2014)).

Royal Academy Exhibits
from Woodbridge
1830 973 [no title] Drawing in grease [pencil]
1832 248 Sketch from Nature, in summer
         510 Landscape - evening. A drawing in grease
         616 Wood Scene - evening. A drawing in grease
1834 859 Sketch near Burgh, Suffolk. A drawing in grease
1835 480 On Martlesham Heath - moonlight
         594 Mill near Woodbridge - dawn
1836 482 On Hampstead Heath, moonlight
         483 Sketch on the Deben, near Woodbridge, Suffolk
         539 Landscape-composition
         565 Near Woodbridge, owl-light
1837 237 River Scene near Great Bealings, Suffolk
         376 River Scene near Ilford [?], Suffolk, moonlight
         641 View near Woodbridge, Suffolk, early in Spring-sketched on the spot
from 16 Buckingham Street, Fitzroy Square, London
1846 561 Malt Kiln, Woodbridge, Suffolk-twilight
         563 Part of Framlingham Castle, Suffolk
         685 Passage near Belsize Park, Hampstead
from 21 Carburton Street, Portland Road, London
1854 495 Suburban Study, Bayswater

Works by This Artist