John Macallan Swan R.A. - Serval playing with tortoises
John Macallan Swan, R.A., R.W.S. (1847-1910) Serval playing with tortoises, signed 'John M Swan' (lower left). oil on board, framed 12¾ x 18½ in. (32.4 x 47 cm.)
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John Swan studied painting at Worcester School of Art, and then, from around 1872, at Lambeth School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. Disatisfied with the teaching in London he entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, c.1874. Here he was introduced to the sculptor Frémiet and much of his sculpture was influenced by the great animalier sculptor, Barye.
Swan was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy, an academician from 1905, a member of the Vienna and Munich secessions, the Art Workers Guild and several painting societies.
Swan is best remembered for his superb depictions of lions, leopards and tigers, executed in rapid pen and wash drawings, pastels, oils and bronze. In 1907 Swan was commissioned to model eight lions and an over life size portrait bust of Cecil Rhodes for a memorial at Groote Schuur, Cape Town. The memorial was completed posthumously after Swan's sudden death at Thatches, Niton, Isle of Wight in 1910.
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