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Prinsep, Valentine Cameron RA

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Always known as ‘Val,’ Valentine Prinsep was born on St Valentine’s Day in Calcutta, the son of an official in the Indian Civil Service. He was sent to school in England and was himself originally destined for the Indian Civil Service. He formed a close relationship, however, with George Frederick Watts and, mixing with his circle, he resolved to take up the profession of painting. He studied under Watts and then under Gleyre in Paris, where he met Whistler, Poynter and du Maurier. He also established a friendship with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites. Later he came under the spell of Lord Leighton, whose style pervades much of his work. The Royal Academy elected him Academician in 1894, although his work was always of the second rank. He was a man of considerable personal charm and, in 1884, at the age of 46, he married a wealthy lady and enjoyed her ample support. Prinsep became a member of the Garrick Club in 1864.
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