Artwork of the Month - June 2014
Gathering Vraic, Guernsey
Artist: Gilbert Joseph Holiday (1879-1937)
Medium: Charcoal drawing
Status: Permanent collection
Acc. No.: GMAG 1986.153
Gilbert Holiday was born in London, the son of Sir Frederick Holiday and nephew of the Pre-Raphaelite artist Henry Holiday.
Gilbert studied at the Royal Academy Schools and illustrated for magazines such as The Graphic and The Tatler. Besides his art, Gilbert's other passion was horses. As a boy he would watch the Royal Horse Artillery from his bedroom window in St. John's Wood. This love and understanding of these noble creatures was communicated through many of Gilbert's artworks and illustrations.
In 1908 he married a Guernsey girl, Mina, and frequently returned to the island with his family. This idyllic family life and career were put on hold with the start of the First World War. Initially Gilbert worked as a war artist for The Graphic before becoming a Forward Observation Officer for the Royal Field Artillery. Later he was appointed as a Reconnaissance Officer, preparing a number of artillery panoramas. Gilbert would draw up plans of enemy positions, often having to enter 'No Man's Land' with sketchbook in hand.
After the War, Gilbert continued to work for magazines such as The Tatler. He also turned his attention to his equestrian art, painting every kind of equine subject as well as taking on Regimental commissions.
Gilbert's love of horses ultimately led to his early death. In 1932 his spinal cord was crushed after a serious fall out hunting. He was paralysed below the waist but continued to paint until his death five years later.