Completed British 19th C, except portraits, British 20th C, except portraits 27 What more can be established about the artist Pillard?

A Retrospect
Topic: Artist

Does a catalogue exist of this artist’s work?
Alistair Brown added: 'They seem to be an illustrator with an extensive range of works online - the other piece attached to their record on Art UK is only one of a series of original drawings of scenes from the Boer War at the Wellcome Collection.

The same signature appears on a painting of the signing of the Armistice - prints are sometimes listed as A Pillard while others are mistakenly given to the Art Nouveau artist Maurice Pillard Verneuil as here (

It also appears on cartoons and postcards of motoring scenes ( and bears playing cricket ('

Gillian Davis , Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. ‘Pillard’ was a record based on a misread signature. The artist has been identified as Harold Hume Piffard (1867–1939), and the subject as William Douglas Johnston and members of his family on the steps of the Montrose Free Library, of which he was a benefactor. The painting was intended to illustrate the benefits of free libraries in general. It has been dated to 1904.

The artist record for ‘Boer War: A Wounded Man Addresses a Superior Officer Seated at His Bedside’ (Wellcome Collection) has also been amended.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this discussion. To anyone viewing it for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


Martin Hopkinson,

Harold H Piffard active 1894-1903 military painter and illustrator- of Bedford Park, West London who worked for Strand Magazine, Cassell's Family Magazine, The Quiver, Pearson's Magazine, Illustrated Magazine , Illustrated Bits, and doubtless other journals. Exhibited at the Royal Academy., Liverpool Autumn Exhibitions and elsewhere
Houfe, p.258
His exhibits at the RA were military subjects
1895 29 Cambridge Avenue, Maida Vale
1897-9 18 Addison Road, Bedford Park

Martin Hopkinson,

Wikipedia gives much mre detail
Harold Hume Piffard 1867-1938. Born in Marylebone
Public shool boy [at Lancing College]
Studied at Royal Academy Schools after returning from India in 1889
Gives a different 1895 address 5 Fitzroy Square, St Pancras - before marriage
Died at Addison Road
Pioneer aviator. Painter in oil and watercolour= very competent
A chapter on him in Robert Kirkpatrick ,The Men who drew for Boys (and Girls), ...1844-1970, pp.355-62 - other citations in wikipedia

Nicholas Barfield,

Undoubtedly Harold Hume Piffard, prolific book and magazine illustrator with a strong realist style. Active c1890 to c1920 - his work covers historic subjects, contemporary themes inc WW1 (some of his images were available as postcards), sentimental/glamour/erotic, and even cartoons.
Sufficiently well-known and collected to merit a Wikipedia entry:

Martin Hopkinson,

The World of Glass owns an oll of this period - The Snowball:Guilty or not Guilty
Illustrated Vanity Fair, 1906
40 books illustrated by him in The British Library

Gregory Burgess,

In February 1916 H.H. Piffard was living at : 19, Addison Road, Bedford Park, Chiswick. S W London. source: Attestation Papers for son.
1911 census at this address with second wife Eleanor, children Harold (killed in great war), Dorothy, Grace, Hume Profession is Artist (at House) .
First wife Helena died age 29 in Chiswick in 1900.
father Charles Piffard born and worked in Calcutta source: (more information available)

Gregory Burgess,

I suggest that for many of his historical pictures he uses the same dark haired woman possibly his wife Eleanor Hoile.

Gregory Burgess,

I attach a photo of Piffard in the box plane he built and flew at Shoreham c. 1910. In his love of flying he reminds me of another artist / aviator Jose Weiss who lived and worked in nearby Amberley.

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Wellcome Collection,

Many thanks, have corrected the name in the Wellcome Collection catalogue. Could it be changed in ArtUK please? WS

Thanks to Scott Thomas Buckle for correctly reading the signature and to others for additional information. We can confirm the artist as Harold Hume Piffard 1867-1938 or 39. When his death date can be established we could close this efficiently resolved discussion.

S. Elin Jones,

Both Harold Hume Piffard’s day of birth and year of death vary slightly on some of the genealogical websites. His year of death generally seems to be considered as 1938, but the registration of death and probate documentations record the year of death as 1939.

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Scott Thomas Buckle,

The site that I linked to previously also includes a photograph of his grave in Chiswick Cemetery. The headstone records the date of his death as January 17th 1938.

1 attachment
Scott Thomas Buckle,

Looks like the year of his death was recorded incorrectly on his gravestone. As S. Elin Jones rightly points out, the year of his death was 1939. This is further supported by his death notice in The Times in January 1939 and a probate notice published there two months later.

Thanks to both for an interesting postscript, that seems to have established that Piffard actually died in 1939. As can be seen in the photograph, his inscription on the gravestone was clearly added to an existing family stone, perhaps some time after his death, and an error made.

So we can conclude that the painting is by Harold Hume Piffard (10 August 1867 – 17 January 1939).

Apologies for the delay and not acting earlier, but I have now asked the Collection to comment on the findings and Andrew's recommendation.

Osmund Bullock,

David, I think you must have missed the Wellcome Collection's request of nearly six months ago (07/05/2021 19:33) to correct the artist's name - also given as Pillard - on the Art UK listing of their work by Piffard:

Osmund, as the Wellcome Collection record is linked to the same name authority as this discussion I was holding on for the ANGUSalive acceptance of the Group Leader recommendation before amending it once. I will send off another email now to see if we can get that acceptance which I obviously hope will be a formality. Regards, David

Osmund Bullock,

Ah, yes - I now see the problem. My apologies for implying you weren't on top of it, David.


apologies =
i see I too have confused Pillard and Piffard....

Martin Hopkinson,

Marcie's discovery in the Dundee Evening Post provides a date before which this was painted.

Marcie Doran,

A photo of this painting accompanies an article in the ‘Montrose Standard and Angus and Mearns Register’ of April 29, 1904. The text seems to imply that the painting depicts W. Douglas Johnston and members of his family. I have attached both the full page and an extract of the article because the text is difficult to read.

Marcie, thank you for the newspaper report identifying the subject and the date as well. The collection may have replied to David by email, but he is on leave this week.