Walter Dendy Sadler

British, (1854-1923)
The Widow’s Birthday
Oil on canvas, signed
Provenance: Exhibited at the Royal Academy 1889, no. 1228;
Illustrated in The Magazine of Art, 1896, p266

This superbly painted and humorous work by Walter Dendy Sadler depicts three older gentleman accidently arriving at the same time in front of a widow’s house. Clearly embarrassed, two of the gentlemen are trying to conceal the gifts they have brought whilst the third strides confidently around with a brace of pheasants. Meanwhile the lady in question, perhaps having got wind of their imminent visit seems to have bid a hasty retreat inside. The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1889 and received critical acclaim at the time. It was later reproduced as a popular etching.

Walter Dendy Sadler was a renowned English painter and illustrator known for his captivating depictions of domestic scenes and genre paintings. He was born in Dorking, Surrey on 12 May, 1854 to John Dendy Sadler, a solicitor and his wife Kitty Sadler (née Weller). He attended school in nearby Horsham and became interested in drawing. His artistic talent became apparent at an early age and he was given art lessons locally most likely with his sister Kate Sadler (1856-1925) who became a floral artist.

Determined to become a painter, at the age of 16 he enrolled at Heatherly's School of Art in London. In 1871, he left England for Germany where he studied in Dusseldorf under Wilhelm Simmler (1840-1923). After returning to England in 1872, he began exhibiting at the Dudley Gallery and also found work as an illustrator for various magazines and publications. His illustrations often depicted scenes of everyday life which went on to inspire a passion for genre painting. He made his debut at the Royal Academy in 1873 becoming a regular contributor there for over 30 years. Sadler was particularly interested in capturing the intimate moments of domestic life. His ability to convey emotions and narratives through his art became his trademark, earning him a significant reputation in the art community.

He married Amelia Louisa Pratt, the daughter of the artist Edward Pratt on 30 March 1881 at St Mary’s Church, Sunbury on Thames. Together they lived at 28 Finchley Road, London and went on to have 5 children. Sadler continued living on the Finchley Road until 1897, when he moved to River View, Hemingford Grey, Huntingdon. However, his family life was rocked by scandal when he divorced his wife in 1899. Despite this, he continued to paint and remained in Huntingdon for the rest of his life.

Sadler passed away on the 13th November, 1923, leaving behind a rich legacy of artistic excellence and a body of work that continues to resonate with audiences to this day. His works are held by numerous public art collections and galleries including: Burton Art Gallery, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Grundy Art Gallery, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Laing Art Gallery Manchester Art Gallery, Norris Museum, Tate, Touchstones Rochdale, Towneley Hall Art Gallery and the Walker Art Gallery.

Presentation The painting is housed in a new, English made gilt frame which is in excellent condition.
Condition As with all of our original antique oil paintings, this work is offered in ready to hang gallery condition, having been professionally cleaned, restored and revarnished.
Image Size 23.5 inches x 33.5 inches (60cm x 85cm)
Framed Size 30.75 inches x 40.75 inches (78cm x 103.5cm)