Death of Sir Walter Armstrong
Art Critic and Writer
Many friends, and all British and Irish students of the history of art will greatly regret to learn that Sir Walter Armstrong, the late Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, died yesterday at his residence in Carlisle-mansions, Westminster. They will hardly by surprised, for his health had been rapidly failing for some months; but none the less his death removes one of the keenest and most learned of our critics of painting, and one who had been for many years a very useful public servant.
He was born in 1850, was educated at Harrow and Exeter College, Oxford, and for some 10 years after 1880 was art critic to several newspapers, such as the Pall Mall Gazette, the Manchester Guardian, and the old Manchester Examiner. He soon made his mark in the art world, and was consulted by students and collectors, becoming an authority especially on Dutch 17th-century and English 18th-century painting. Several fine collections, of which that of the late Mr. S. Joseph, was one, were mainly formed under his advice. In 1892 he succeeded the late Henry Doyle as Director of the Dublin Gallery, which his predecessor had reorganized and developed; and in this post Armstrong remained for over 20 years, his services recognized by a knighthood in 1899.
While in Dublin he found time to write many books, among which his stately volumes on Sir Joshua Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Raeburn were the chief, these still hold a position of authority. Earlier and later he wrote columns on men so various as Peter De Wint, Velasquez, and Sir Thomas Lawrence, and a book of "Notes" on the National Gallery, containing many suggestive criticisms. Indeed, without ever pretending to be a special "researcher" like various foreign students, such as Berenson and Hofstede de Groot, Armstrong was quick at absorbing the essential points of their researches and in judging them by the aid of a keen eye and a clear brain.
In 1873 he married Miss Ferard of Ascot Place, and he leaves a family.