academy royal nymphs
FROST, Wm:um EDWARD (1810-1877), a painter of mythological and fanciful subjects, was born at Wandsworth, near London, in September 1810. He showed at an early age considerable talent for drawing, and his father placed him under as good instruction as was available in the neighbourhood. About 1825 be was introduced to Etty, who advised that he should attend o. celebrated drawing school in Bloomsbury Street. After several years' study there, and in the sculpture rooms at the British Museum, Frost was in 1829 admitted as a student in the schools of the Royal Academy, where he was noted for steady and careful application, and for success in competition. He won medals in all the schools, except the antique, in which. he was beaten by Maclise, During those years, and indeed until the time when more imaginative work had brought, with fame, other means of subsistence, he maintained himself by portrait painting. He is said to have painted, about this time, over 300 portraits; but not one of them is now remembered as a work of any artistic value. In 1839 he obtained the gold medal of the Royal Academy for his picture of Prometheus bound by Force and Strength. At the cartoon exhibition at Westminster Hall in 1813 lie was awarded a third-class prize of 100 pounds, for his cartoon of Una alarmed by Fauns and Satyrs. He exhibited at the Academy Christ crowned with Thorns (1843), Nymphs dancing (1844), Sabrina (1845), Diana and Actreon (1816). In 1816 he was elected Associate of the Royal Academy. His Nymph disarming Cupid was exhibited in 1817; Una and the Wood-Nymphs of the same year was bought by the Queen. This was the time of Frost's highest popularity. Influences affecting the art of the country at the time led to the decline of his reputation after 1850; and opinion on his work so changed in later years that it was perhaps by courtesy only that he obtained the dignity of full membership of the Royal Academy. His later pictures are simply repetitions of earlier motives. Among them may be named Enphrosyne (1848), Wood-Nymphs (1851), Chastity (1854), II Penseroso (1855), The Graces (1856), Narcissus (1857), Zephyr with Aurora playing (1858), The Graces and Loves (1863), Hylas and the Nymphs (1867). After being for some years at the head of the list of associates, Frost was elected to full membership of the Royal Academy in December 1871. This dignity, however, he soon resigned, and his name appears in the lists issued during the last years of his life among those of honorary retired Academicians. There is something very flimsy about the productions of this painter. Iu work after work is continued the same unvarying series of maidens and nymphs, having the same smiles, gestures, graces. There is in these paintings no spontaneity and little truth of feeling of any kind. Frost had no high power of design, though some of his smaller and apparently less important works are not without grace and charm. Technically, his paintings are, in a sense, very highly finished, but they are entirely without mastery. The writings of Ruskin and the rise of the pre-Raphaelites changed the regard in which such productions as those of Frost were held ; and his career was practically at an end some years before his death. As a man he was highly esteemed by Ids friends for the gentleness and modesty of his disposition. He died on the 4th of June 1877.