Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow


Albert Joseph Moore

Nationality: English
Date of birth: 1841.09.04
Place of birth: York
Date of death: 1893.09.25
Place of death: 2 Spencer Street, Victoria Street, London
Category: artist


Albert Joseph Moore, a painter and pastellist, came from a Yorkshire family of artists. His father William Moore was a portrait and landscape painter and his oldest brother Edwin Moore was a watercolourist and teacher, William Junior a landscape painter and teacher, John Collingham Moore a child portraitist and landscape and genre painter who worked in Rome with the 'Etruscan school', and Henry Moore a marine and landscape painter, watercolourist and etcher. Moore had fourteen brothers and sisters in all.


Moore was a precocious child, and entered the R.A. schools in 1858. His early works shows the influence of Ruskin eg. Study of an Ash Trunk, 1857 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). In 1859 he was in France with the architect William Eden Nesfield and in the winter of 1862-63 he was in Rome with his brother John Collingham Moore. It was here that he painted Elijah's Sacrifice, 1863 (Bury St Edmunds), which shows the influence of Ford Madox Brown and Edward Armitage.

The 1860s saw Moore designing tiles, wallpaper and stained glass for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co., and working as an ecclesiastic and domestic mural painter. During this period his works began to take on a markedly neo-classical character, eg. Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire, Moore making an extensive study of antique sculpture, particularly the Elgin marbles in the British Museum. His concern for decorative, colour harmonies became apparent in his paintings of the mid=1860s onwards. Moore was a regular exhibitor at the Grosvenor Gallery from 1877 onwards, and also exhibited at the R.A.

Moore met Whistler in 1865 when Whistler admired Moore's painting The Marble Seat at the Royal Academy. Following a quarrel with Legros in 1865, Whistler suggested that Moore should replace Legros as the third member of the Société des Trois. Whistler shared Moore's interest in classical subjects and their work became closely connected between 1867 and 1870.

Moore's working methods were elaborate, involving many studies of the nude and of drapery. Inspired by his example, Whistler began for a short period to make chalk studies, small sketches of the complete composition, and full scale cartoons for his paintings. Whistler's adoption of a butterfly signature was also influenced by Moore's anthemion identifying mark which he had begun to use in 1867.

Whistler's Symphony in White, No. 3 y061, 1865-67, seems to have been a direct response to Moore's Marble Seat. An early sketch of Symphony in White, No. 3 y061 is also closely related to Moore's A Musician, 1867 (Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven). Furthermore, the compositional arrangement of The White Symphony: Three Girls y087 seems to follow that of Moore's Pomegranates, 1866.

Whistler's 'Six Projects', commissioned by Frederick Leyland in 1867 owe an obvious debt to Moore's paintings of toga-clad women by the seashore. There is a direct relationship between Moore's Sea Shells, exhibited in 1874 (Walker Gallery, Liverpool) and Venus y082. Whistler became concerned about the similarity between his work and Moore's and in 1870 called in Nesfield to arbitrate. However, Whistler moved away from classically inspired subject matter, and there was no lasting antagonism.

Moore and Whistler were at times seen together rowing on the Thames. Moore appeared in Whistler's defence at the Whistler-Ruskin trial in November 1878. Baldry, when writing his book on Moore, asked Whistler for information, but if Whistler replied, there is no record of it.

Like Whistler, Moore was a member of the The Arts Club, his membership lasting from 1864 until 1893, when he died.


Baldry, Alfred Lys, Albert Moore; His Life and Works, London, 1894; Records of The Arts Club, London; Green, R. (ed.), Albert Moore and his Contemporaries, Newcastle, 1972; Walkley, Giles, Artists' houses in London 1764-1914, Aldershot, 1994 ; Asleson, Robyn, Albert Moore, London, 2000; Morgan, Hilary, 'Albert Joseph Moore', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy.