Paul Maitland was a reclusive landscape painter, who largely confined himself to scenes in and around where he lived in Chelsea, including Kensington Gardens, the Chelsea Embankment and views across the river to Battersea.
Born in 1863 in Chelsea, he studied at the Royal College of Art under Theodore Roussel. Through Roussel, Maitland became associated with Whistler and his circle, the ‘London Impressionsists’, including Walter Sickert, Philip Steer, Thomas Brown and Roussel.
Until the beginning of the nineteenth century Chelsea had been a village with numerous pottery studios and its own cottage garden industry. Eventually it was enveloped by the urban industrial sprawl of the city and became met with the cold indifference of artists who wanted to seek out the ideal of beauty in the Parks and Gardens of London. Maitland, Sickert and Whistler went against the grain, immortalising the industrial landscapes along the Thames. Here Whistler’s influence is evident in Maitland’s work, particularly in his murky, impressionistic handling of the paint.