[English Victorian Neoclassical Painter, 1850-1934]
English painter and writer. He was the younger son of Sir Robert Perret Collier (later Lord Monkswell), a distinguished lawyer and MP, and was educated at Eton. After being introduced to Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, he studied at the Slade School of Art, London, under Edward Poynter, moved to Paris where he studied under Jean-Paul Laurens and then went to Munich. Collier sent a steady stream of portraits and subject pictures to the Royal Academy from 1870 until the end of his life. As a portrait painter he emulated the mature work of John Everett Millais, but his glowering statesmen and confident captains of industry are reminiscent more of the dourness of Frank Holl’s portraits. Collier also revealed a much lighter side, especially in his theatrical portraits. The best of these is Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Ellen Terry and Madge Kendal in ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ (1904; London, Garrick Club), which evokes the gaiety and lavish exuberance of the Edwardian stage. His contemporary fame rested on such works as the Prodigal Daughter (exh. RA 1903; Lincoln, Usher Gal.) and a Fallen Idol (exh. RA 1913; Auckland, C.A.G.); recording the tragedies of modern life, these works were felt to be equivocal and were called ‘problem pictures’, although Collier claimed that their meanings were perfectly clear.