(b London, 30 Apr. 1804; d London, 14 Dec. 1888). English painter, writer, and art administrator. He began as a painter of anecdotal literary subjects, often in 18th-century costume, but in the 1840s he became a pioneer of scenes of contemporary social concern (The Poor Teacher, 1845, Shipley AG, Gateshead). ‘It is one of my most gratifying feelings’, he wrote, ‘that many of my best efforts in art have aimed at calling attention to the trials and struggles of the poor and the oppressed.’ In his later career his artistic output consisted mainly of landscapes painted when he was on holiday, as most of his time was taken up with administration: he was Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures (see Royal Collection) from 1857 to 1880, and also held various posts at the Government School of Design (which became the Royal College of Art) and the South Kensington (later Victoria and Albert) Museum.
Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)