Snaffles

 

Artist Biography:

"Snaffles" - (Charlie Johnson Payne) Born in 1884 was one of the greatest sporting and military artists of his time. He was the fourth of a bootmaker's eight children and from his youth developed a passion for all things military, coupled with a great love of horses. He tried to enlist in the Army to fight in the Boer War, but was rejected on the grounds that he was too young. Eventually, he joined the Royal Garrison Artillery at the age of 18 as a gunner but in 1906 he was forced to leave because of illness. During his short period in the Army he learnt to ride in the Royal Artillery School. However, his time in the Army was influential, as his first recorded works of semi-caricature portrait date from this time. Invalided out of World War I, after a very bad fall while he was at summer camp with the Leicestershire Yeomanry, Snaffles took a job as a war artist for The Graphic, alongside artists such as Gilbert Holiday, Lionel Edwards and Cecil Aldin, to record what at the outset was considered a romantic war. This view prevailed amongst the British public until 1916 when the horrors of trench warfare in the Somme became apparent, and it was during these years that he produced some of his finest military work. After the War his work became more varied, although he still often contributed to The Sporting & Dramatic News. It was as a sporting artist that Snaffles built his reputation and, after the War, he worked on the hunting, shooting, polo, racing and fishing subjects which made his name. The classic series of pig-sticking prints he completed in India in the late 1920's are, perhaps, the images for which he is best known and his depictions of military life in the Raj are second to none. Snaffles built an element of humour into his work and the captions to his subjects were often as important as the artwork. Much of his work was published in limited edition format. Snaffles died in December 1967. He was a true Victorian, who loved hunting hounds, horses and dogs.

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