8th December 1869
Naftel’s paintings go on display
Paul Jacob Naftel was born in Guernsey in 1817 to a clock and watch maker who also sold painting supplies in his St Peter Port shop. The younger Naftel taught himself painting, then instructed others in the subject at Elizabeth College (25 May). In December 1869, a major exhibition of his work was mounted at the Winter Exhibition of the Water Colour Society (this is likely the Royal Watercolour Society, then called the Society of Painters in Water-colours, to which Naftel was elected in 1856).
By then, Naftel’s fame had spread far beyond Guernsey thanks to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s visit to the Bailiwick in 1846. He painted a scene of her stop on Guernsey, which he submitted to the queen herself. Copies of it which were also published in the Illustrated London News.
A prolific artist
Naftel produced more than 1000 paintings during his lifetime, 20 years of which was spent at Elizabeth College. However, as his fame grew he moved to the mainland and settled in London in 1870. This allowed him to travel more widely than his previous home on Guernsey ever had done. In 1985, Guernsey Post Office released a series of stamps celebrating his work, the covering notes for which outline how he showed a particular interest in northern England and Scotland.
Many of his works were exhibited in a dedicated Naftel Gallery on London’s New Bond Street.
Paul Jacob Naftel died in Twickenham in 1891, one year after the death of his daughter, Maud Naftel, who was herself just starting to enjoy some success as a painter in her own right.