For my Father - Alexandru B.
His father, William Rivière, was for some years drawing-master at Cheltenham College, and afterwards an art teacher at Oxford University. He was educated at Cheltenham College and at Oxford, where he took his degree in 1867. For his art training he was indebted almost entirely to his father, and early in life made for himself a place of importance among the artists of his time.
His first pictures appeared at the British Institution, and in 1857 he exhibited three works at the Royal Academy, but it was not until 1863 that he became a regular contributor to the Academy exhibitions. In that year he was represented by The eve of the Spanish Armada, and in 1864 by a Romeo and Juliet .
However, subjects of this kind did not attract him long, for in 1865 he began, with a picture of a Sleeping deerhound, a series of paintings of animal-subjects which later occupied him almost exclusively for the rest of his life. In a lengthy interview published in Chums Boys Annual (No. 256, Vol. V, 4 August 1897) entitled "How I paint animals", Rivière explained some of the practicalities of painting both tame and wild animals: "I have always been a great lover of dogs but I have worked at them so much that I've grown tired of having them about me. However, you can never paint a dog unless you are fond of it. I never work from a dog without the assistance of a man who is well acquainted with animals..... Collies, I think, are the most restless dogs....greyhounds are also very restless, and so are fox-terriers..... The only way to paint wild animals is to gradually accumulate a large number of studies and a great knowledge of the animal itself, before you can paint its picture...... I paint from dead animals as well as from live ones. I have had the body of a fine lioness in my studio..... I have done a great deal of work in the dissecting rooms at the Zoological Gardens from time to time."
source: Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia