An Amateur John William Godward Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on January 15, 2024
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An Amateur is a 1915 painting by British artist, John William Godward.


This charming artwork captures a young woman admiring the fruits of her labour - notably a pencil sketch. She reclines in side profile on a chair, whilst staring at her notepad. The outline of her work can be viewed, as well as the subject which is positioned close by on a small table.

This clever arrangement allowed Godward to display many technical skills in a single composition, whilst still remaining faithful to the classical style that he incorporated in most of his paintings. There is the marble effects across the table top, the animal fur which covers most of the lady's chair. There is also sculptures elements to the furniture, and additional marble across the wall in the background.

We then spot the pink robe of delicate material, with a purple cloth wrapped around her waist. There is also some touches of material around her hair, which itself is tightly styled. There is also the male sculpture which she draws so carefully, with its hand outstretched in a symbolic manner.


An Amateur is believed to be owned by Richard Green Fine Paintings in London, UK. The work was featured in J.W. Godward, PP 145, where some of the information provided in this article was gleaned.

Artistic Style

Godward was at the height of his powers by the time that he produced An Amateur in 1915. He had mastered all of the technical challenges necessary to complete his classical paintings, and was a highly accomplished artist. Sadly, he would soon suffer ill health, passing away just a few years later having already reduced his artistic output.

2004 Sale at Auction

Godward's An Amateur achieved a sale price of £200,250 in 2004 at Bonhams in London. The original entry listed the painting's dimensions as being 59.5 x 76 cm, which is entirely typical of the artist's single portraits.

The painting is signed by the artist on the front, along with its date, whilst an inscription on the back lists the artist's name alongside 'Rome', and 1916. By this stage classical art was starting to fall out of fashion across Britain, and Godward was one of its last and most significant exponents - indeed a recent publication on the artist, one of the best available, terms his career as the "Eclipse of Classicism".

John William Godward was among the brightest stars of the late Graeco-Roman painters, during classicism's twilight and final extinguishing.

Vern Grosvenor Swanson Ph.D. in J.W. Godward - 1861-1922 - The Eclipse of Classicism

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An Amateur in Detail by John William Godward An Amateur in Detail by John William Godward