Glindoni exhibition

New exhibition at Valence House Museum shines a light on the little-known story of popular Victorian artist Henry Gillard Glindoni

  • Beyond the easel: Rediscovering Dagenham’s forgotten artist runs 6 July – 30 November 2024 at Valence House Museum, Dagenham 
  • Celebrated in his time but now little-known, Glindoni was a skilful and prolific artist, known for his colourful romantic and historic scenes
  • Paintings from the Wellcome Collection, Russell-Coates Art Gallery & Museum and Grundy Art Gallery on display, with loans supported by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund

Beyond the easel: Rediscovering Dagenham’s forgotten artist, opening this July at Valence House Museum in Dagenham, explores the life and work of Henry Gillard Glindoni, who spent the last 20 years of his life living and painting in Chadwell Heath, just over a mile away from the museum.

A well respected and much exhibited artist during his own lifetime, Glindoni’s fame did not survive the passage of time. While his most famous artwork John Dee performing an experiment before Elizabeth I, may still be recognised by many today, his name is not.

Beyond the easel puts Glindoni back in the spotlight, bringing together items from the museum’s own collection with loans from national and regional museums including: The Wellcome Collection’s John Dee performing an experiment before Elizabeth I, The Frost Fair, 1684 (1900) from The Grundy Art Gallery, and The Pipe and the Bottle (undated) from the Russell-Coates Art Gallery & Museum.

The loans are supported by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund. Created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the Weston Loan Programme is the first ever UK-wide funding scheme to enable smaller and local authority museums to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections. 

Ann Marie Pena, Strategic Head of Culture and Heritage, said: “We’re proud to launch this fantastic new exhibition at our much-loved Valence House Museum. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover more about the brilliant Dagenham artist Glindoni whilst setting sights on a wonderful collection of his works.”

Sophia Weston, Trustee of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “One of the Weston Loan Programme’s key aims is to help smaller museums tell compelling stories through exciting loans. We are delighted to support this exhibition in Dagenham that celebrates local artist, Glindoni and introduces his work to a new contemporary audience”. 

Glindoni was a hugely prolific artist, undertaking commissions for book, magazine and catalogue illustrations, commercial advertisements, invitations and dance cards, alongside his fine artwork. 

"The exhibition represents the full breadth of his work, including romantic genre and historic paintings, local scenes, beautifully detailed preparatory drawings, prints, sketches and watercolours."

Like his surname, which he changed from Glindon to sound more like a professional Italian artist, the story Glindoni told of his past was imbued with the romantic ideology of the period. Born in Lambeth in 1850, he claimed to have been a child actor, scenery painter, minstrel, and choirboy all before the age of 21.

Influenced by his grandfather, a musical and decorative artist who worked at Drury Lane Theatre in Covent Garden and brought Glindoni to the British Museum as a child to sketch objects so that they could be incorporated into his theatre scenery, Glindoni got his professional start in the Victorian theatre scene.

He exhibited as a fine artist for the first time in 1873 at the Royal Academy, where he would go on to show 39 works over the next 32 years. As his popularity grew, he was elected as a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1879.

By 1885 Glindoni was married with a young family, moving to a newly built villa on the corner of Whalebone Lane and Mill Lane in Chadwell Heath. He created some of his most charming works in the area before dying in 1913 at the age of 62.

Beyond the easel: Rediscovering Dagenham’s forgotten artist is open 6 July – 30 November 2024 at Valence House Museum, Dagenham. Entry is free of charge and information about opening times can be found at