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Charles Gilbert Holiday

Charles Gilbert Holiday was the son of Sir Frederick Holiday his mother was a watercolourist and his uncle Henry Holiday a well-known stained glass designer. Known as Gilbert or GH his work was of the highest quality and his ability to work with oils watercolours crayon chalk and other mediums showed great versatility. Gilbert was a London born equestrian painter highly thought of by his contemporaries particularly C.J. Payne (Snaffles) and Lionel Edwards Edwards said of him no one can or ever could paint a horse in action better than Gilbert could. It has been said that Holiday ranks alongside Lionel Edwards Snaffles and Alfred Munnings as one of the greatest equestrian artists of the 20th Century. Holiday attended the Royal Academy Schools and later went on to work as an illustrator at The Graphic The Tatler and The Illustrated London News and other illustrated magazines. When war was declared in 1914 Holiday worked as a war artist for The Graphic and although too old to officially join up he managed a commission into The Royal Field Artillery 8th Corps. with whom he served with distinction at Arras Passchendaele and the Third Battle of Ypres. He continued sketching throughout the War producing many atmospheric and moving drawings. He left the Army in 1919 and his love of horses continued to influence his life becoming a well-respected equine artist concentrating on sporting subjects hunting racing point-to-points and polo. He excelled more than any other artist in portraying polo successfully and was well adapted at depicting speed. He became world famous for his paintings of The Grand National and other race meetings as well as the posters for the Royal Tournament. A fall whilst out hunting with the Woolwich Drag in 1932 shortened his life. He crushed his spinal cord and never walked again but with considerable courage he continued painting but from a wheelchair. He died on the 8th January 1937 at the age of 57.

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