J.W. Godward, 1861-1922: The Eclipse of Classicism

ISBN: 9781851499038
Artist(s): John William Godward
Author(s): Vern G. Swanson
Format: hardback
Year published: 2018
Publisher: ACC Art Books
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 344
Illustrations: 160 colour illustrations and 71 B&W illustrations


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John William Godward was among the brightest stars of the late Graeco-Roman painters during classicism’s twilight years. Some believe he equalled Alma-Tadema in his depiction of marble and flowers and Frederic Leighton in his depiction of drapery. However, his own reclusive nature, society’s loss of interest in classical subject painting, aggressive modernist art and the efforts of his disapproving family conspired to plunge him into obscurity.

Godward’s art was more than escapist; it was purposely beautiful in an age plunging headlong into atrocity. For Godward, art was not only an aesthetic exercise but also a form of therapy. Through these pictures he lived his self-contained life until melancholia, fed by ill health and increasing artistic criticism, overwhelmed his fantasy haven.

A hapless victim of his own personality, unable to make his way in a hostile world, Godward ended it all. Swanson’s original edition of John William Godward introduced the life of a very private man who pushed the classical ideal further into the twentieth century than most would think possible. This revised edition contains the author’s latest research – significant expansions to the text, as well as approximately 100 new pictures, many of which have only recently been attributed to Godward.


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