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HOUGHTON, ARTHUR BOYD (1836–1875), book illustrator and painter, fourth son of Captain M. Houghton, R.N., was born in 1836. In the early part of his career he devoted himself mainly to illustrations of books, the ‘Graphic,’ ‘Fun,’ and other serials. After returning with his father from India he began to paint in oil, and exhibited some humorous sketches of London life at the Portland Gallery. In 1861 he commenced to exhibit at the Royal Academy, sending ‘A Fisher’ and ‘Here i' the Sands,’ and contributed other oil-paintings in 1864, 1867, 1868, 1869, and 1870. He joined the (now Royal) Society of Painters in Water-colours, exhibiting in 1871 ‘Hiawatha and Minnehaha’ and ‘In Captivity,’ and a few other works of high merit in 1872 and 1874, but his fame depends mainly upon his designs for books. He supplied illustrations to editions of ‘Don Quixote,’ and the ‘Arabian Nights,’ published in 1866. The illustrations to the former book show much invention, but his talent found its most congenial field in the ‘Arabian Nights.’ His best designs for these tales are to be found, not in the edition just mentioned, but in Dalziel's ‘Arabian Nights’ (completed in 1865), to which he contributed over ninety illustrations. They are full of life and fancy, of gravity and passion, often wild and fantastic, but always in sympathy with the subject and never wanting in human character. A special word should be given to his children, which are spirited and natural, whether English or oriental. His designs were often striking in their effects of black and white, but they were wanting in tone and gradation, a defect partly due perhaps to the loss of one eye. Houghton was one of the brilliant band of book illustrators which included Frederick Walker and J. G. Pinwell. He died at 162 King Henry's Road, South Hampstead, London, on 23 Nov. 1875, and was buried in Paddington cemetery, Willesden Lane.

[Redgrave's Dict. 1878; Art Journal, 1876, p. 47; Bryan's Dict. (Graves); Roget's History of the Old Water-colour Society.]

C. M.