Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Baxter, Charles

BAXTER, CHARLES (1809–1879), portrait and subject painter, was born in Little Britain, London, in March 1809. He was the son of a book-clasp maker, and was himself apprenticed to a bookbinder; but his impulse towards art was so strong that he soon gave up his business, and commenced a struggling career as a painter, chiefly of miniatures and portraits. In 1834 he made the acquaintance of George Clint, from whom he received some valuable instruction, and in the same year he exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy. In 1839 he joined the Clipstone Street Society, and studied there along with Paul Falconer Poole, William Müller, Duncan, Jenkins, Topham, and others, who afterwards became distinguished in the profession. He became a member of the Society of British Artists in 1842, and contributed to its exhibitions many of the poetical and rustic subjects and fancy portraits upon which his reputation chiefly rests. His female heads are especially characterised by refinement of expression and purity of colour. Among his best works were ‘The Orphan,’ painted in 1843; ‘The Wanderers,’ 1847; ‘L'Allegro,’ 1852; ‘Love me, love my Dog,’ 1854; ‘Sunshine’ and ‘The Bouquet,’ 1855; ‘The Dream of Love,’ 1857; ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ 1859; ‘Olivia and Sophia,’ 1862; ‘The Ballad,’ 1863; ‘Peasant Girl of Chioggia,’ 1869; and ‘Rich and rare were the gems she wore,’ 1872. He died at Lewisham 10 Jan. 1879.

[Art Journal, 1864, pp. 145–7, 1879, p. 73; Royal Academy Exhibition Catalogues, 1834–72; Exhibition Catalogues of Society of British Artists, 1842–79.]

R. E. G.