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John S Goodall - Victorians Abroad

Victorians Abroad
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Artist Biography
John Strickland Goodall (1908 – 1996) was a British artist and illustrator. Through his children's books, and his Victorian and Edwardian albums, John Strickland Goodall became one of England's best-loved artists. The remarkable feature of his books is that they were all completely designed and illustrated by him, and none of them contained a single word, beyond the title-page.

He was born in Norfolk in 1908, and came from a long line of doctors. He showed great talent for art at Harrow School, and his father reluctantly agreed that he could study drawing with two artist friends of his, Sir Arthur Stockdale Cope, and John Watson Nicol, both formidable relics of the Victorian age. "I was trained to be a mid-Victorian art student," Goodall recalled. From 1925 to 1929 he attended the Royal Academy Schools, where he met his future wife, Margaret Nicol.

In the 1930s, Goodall worked mainly as an illustrator, for such magazines as the Radio Times and the Bystander. He also painted landscapes, interiors and conversation pieces, mostly in watercolour, which he preferred to painting in oil.

Margaret fell ill in 1970, and was thereafter mostly confined to bed. Goodall nursed her devotedly, leaving the house only once a week. This enforced seclusion led him to concentrate on children's books and it was this, paradoxically, that was to lead to his greatest success.

In 1989 his wife died and, for the first time in 20 years, Goodall was able to travel, and paint where he liked. This produced a wonderful final burst of creative work, mainly landscapes in Wiltshire, or views in France and Portugal.