Frank Moss Bennett
(British, 1874–1953) is a British painter well-known for his portraits and detailed genre scenes. Bennett was born in Liverpool in 1874, and was sent to study at Browns House, Clifton College in Bristol in 1892. That same year, he decided to become an artist and transferred to the Slade School of Art in London, where he was a pupil of distinguished painters such as Henry Tonks
(British, 1861–1937), Philip Wilson Steer
(British, 1860–1942), and John Singer Sargent
(American, 1856–1925). Bennett attended London’s St. Johns Wood School of Art in 1894, and enrolled in the Royal Academy School of Art in 1896.
In 1899, the artist was presented with a gold medal and a travel scholarship for his work. The following year, he embarked on a tour of Italy with friend and fellow painter Eddie Wells. Bennett then returned to Liverpool and continued to develop his artistic skills. He created a number of portraits during this period, including a now famous one of poet Sir Thomas Martin. Bennett’s primary interest however lay with historical painting. He was strongly influenced by French artist Jean-Louis-Ernest-Messonier
(1815–1891), who was renowned for his depictions of 18th-century figures, and perhaps even late 17th-century Dutch masters, such as Pieter de Hooch
. Like Messonier, Bennett strove to be historically accurate; he studied period furniture and dressed his models in appropriate costumes. Some of his favorite subjects included tavern scenes, hunting scenes, Elizabethan and Stuart figures, and cardinals.
One of Bennett’s most identifiable works is a tavern scene titled The Landlord’s Story
. The artist achieved great success during his lifetime. He exhibited his works at the Royal Academy between 1898 and 1928, the Liverpool Art Gallery between 1899 and 1932, and a number of other prestigious institutions. Bennett died at home in 1953. His popularity persists, and his paintings are frequently reproduced today.