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Alfred John Keene (1864-1930) - Profile of an Artist

Known to those around him as 'Jack', Alfred John Keene was born into a family that was already documenting contemporary views of Derby long before he began to paint.

Alfred was the fourth son of the notable Victorian photographer Richard Keene (1825-1894) - a man who created a legacy of photographs of Victorian times in Derby. In fact some of these photographs would later serve as an inspiration for some of Alfred's paintings.

A photograph by Richard Keene
Full Street, Derby near its junction with Amen Alley c.1882 by Richard Keene

Between 1878 and 1885 Alfred was a pupil at the Derby Central School of Art and he also worked for a short while at the Crown Derby Works.

In 1887 - and alongside William Swindell, F. Booty, George Thompson, Charles Terry and Frank Timms - Alfred became one of the founder members of the Derby Sketching Club, an organisation that is still going strong today.

Alfred specialised in watercolour and over time he exhibited at not only Derby but also Nottingham, Birmingham, Liverpool and the Royal Society of British Artists.

Known for his landscapes and architectural views, many of his works were purchased by the local art collector and philanthropist Alfred E. Goodey.

Goodey purchased 77 paintings by Keene and they ultimately formed part of the 'Goodey Collection' which totalled 512 paintings from local artists that were all donated to the Derby Museum and Art Gallery by Goodey.

Alfred - alongside his wife Annie - lived for many years at 171 Abbey Street, moving later to 25a Friar Gate and ultimately to 99 Uttoxeter New Road.

Alfred died in 1930 but left a lasting and beautiful legacy that is still enjoyed by many people today. Some of his paintings can be found in our Bygone Derby Art Prints collection by clicking here.

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