Robert Alexander Hillingford was born on 28 January 1828 in London. In 1841, he moved to Germany to study at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. After 5 years of studying he travelled to Italy visiting Rome, Naples and Florence where he met and married his wife Ciara. During this time, he produced paintings of Italian life and one of these ‘The Last Evening of the Carnival’ was exhibited at St. Petersburg in 1859.
In 1864, he returned to London where he began to specialise in historical subjects often including battle scenes. He also produced a number of theatrical scenes and contemporary paintings of the Boer War. He lived in Kensington and later at Rowan Road, Hammersmith.
Hillingford made his debut at the Royal Academy in 1866 exhibiting there regularly throughout his career. He also exhibited at the British Institution, Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham, Glasgow Institute, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, Manchester City Art Gallery, Royal Institute of Oil Painters and Arthur Tooth Gallery. He was known for his close attention to accuracy in details of dress and had a collection of original uniforms. He was Vice President of the Kernoozers Club an organisation for collectors of objets d’art and militaria. He died in Fulham in 1904.
Examples of his paintings can be found at the Courtauld Institute, Grundy Art Gallery, Glasgow Art Gallery, Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, Williamson Art Gallery and the York National Railway Museum.
*The Battle of Blenheim took place on 13th August 1704 and was a major battle in the War of the Spanish Succession. France sought to knock the Habsburgs out of the war and began advancing along the Danube with her ally Bavaria to take the Austrian capital. England had formed a Grand Alliance with the Netherlands and Austria and in response to this threat John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, devised a campaign to thwart the French. He secretly moved English troops out of the Netherlands and marched them 300 miles to the Upper Danube to meet up with Prince Eugene of Savoy and his forces. The ensuing campaign culminated in a fierce battle at the village of Blindheim (Blenheim). Towards the end of the battle the Franco-Bavarian forces had suffered major losses, having been overrun by the British and allied forces. The Earl of Orkney had secured the surrender of a number of troops, however, many of the French regiments including Navarre, Provence, Artois and La Rein as well as Bavarian troops were still in the village. Marlborough’s brother Charles was preparing for an assault when the French proposed a parley. Finally at around 9pm, 24 battalions of French Foot with 4 regiments of dragoons surrendered to Marlborough. The proud Regiment of Navarre burned its colours rather than deliver them to the British.
This scene depicts a group of French infantry of the Navarre regiment at the moment of surrender. Their General, possibly Marshall Ferdinand Marsin stands in front of them entreating them to lay down their arms. Presiding over the surrender, can be seen the Earl of Orkney on horseback. Surrounded and having run out of options, the despondent soldiers know all is lost. In a final act of defiance they lower their standard into the flames.
The painting is housed in a new, English made gilt frame which is in excellent condition.
|Image Size||17.75 inches x 23.75 inches (45cm x 60.5cm)|
|Framed Size||24.25 inches x 30.25 inches (61.5cm x 77cm)|