Robert Alexander Hillingford (British, 1825 – 1904)

Cordelia and King Lear

“Cordelia and King Lear” Oil on canvas. 16 1/2 x 24

Robert Alexander Hillingford (28 January 1828 – 1904) was an English painter. He specialized in historical pictures, often battle scenes.

He was born in London on 28 January 1828, and studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf for five years beginning in 1841. He is associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting. He then traveled to Munich, Rome, Florence and Naples, where he married and worked for several years, producing paintings of Italian life. One painting from this period entitled The Last Evening of the Carnival was exhibited at St. Petersburg in 1859. He returned to London in 1864, and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1866; it was at this time that he began to work on historical subjects, especially of the Napoleonic Wars. He was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy, British Institution and at other galleries. While he was attracted to costume pieces such as an incident in the early life of Louis XIV and During the wanderings of Charles Edward Stuart, he also painted some contemporary military scenes, including his 1901 RA painting South Africa, 1901 – The Dawn of Peace.

The original paintings often come up at auction, and with a large amount of the collection dispersed in 1998, they are widely scattered.

KING LEAR: Pray, do not mock me: I am a very foolish fond old man, Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less; And, to deal plainly, I fear I am not in my perfect mind. Methinks I should know you, and know this man; Yet I am doubtful for I am mainly ignorant What place this is; and all the skill I have Remembers not these garments; nor I know not Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me; For, as I am a man, I think this lady To be my child Cordelia.

CORDELIA And so I am, I am.