Severn came from an artistic family, his father was the artist Joseph Severn and his brother Walter and sister Mary were also artists. He studied in both Paris and Rome and first began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1863. He was a founder member of the Arts Club and a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. In 1871 he married Joan Ruskin Agnew, the niece of the famous art critic. Much influenced by Ruskin, he accompanies the critic on his trip to Italy with Albert Goodwin in 1872. He and his wife joined Ruskin at Brantwood, his house on Coniston Water and became his constant companions for the final 30 years of the great man’s life. When Ruskin died in 1900 he left the house and grounds to the Severns with the condition in his will that Brantwood and its collection be open to the public for 30 days annually. Regretfully, the Severn family did not comply with these wishes and sold many of the more valuable paintings from the collection. Severn exhibited at the Royal Academy, New Watercolour Society, Grosvenor Gallery and Dudley Gallery. Works by him are in many public collections.
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