Godfrey Douglas Giles (1857-1941)
Pretty Polly, 1906
22 x 27 cms

The son of an officer in the Indian Navy, Godfrey Giles entered the Indian Army as a young man and saw service in India, Afghanistan and Egypt before retiring as a Major in 1884. He studied painting in Paris under Carolus Duran. His output comprised paintings of hunting, racing and battle scenes and there are engravings after his drawings of military uniforms. Working in oils, watercolour and pastels, he painted hunting panoramas with a fresh eye, but his racing ‘finishes’ show the inelegant full-stretch gallop. He provided illustrations for The Graphic, Black and White, Vanity Fair and The Badminton Library. Giles also illustrated books, including The Ward in Hunting Poems by G.J. White-Melville, 1911. Living in London and Newmarket, he exhibited only a few paintings at the Royal Academy, Society of British Artists, at Glasgow, Liverpool and the Royal Scottish Academy; a painting of his was hung at the Paris Salon in 1885. Finally settling in Scotland, Giles died in Edinburgh on 1 February 1841, aged 83.