Frederick Barnard was born to a family of Silversmiths on Angel Street in London in 1846. He studied at the Heatherley’s Art School in London and later moved to Paris, where became a pupil of Léon Bonnat.
Despite his classical education, Barnard became known for his book illustrations and caricatures. His most famous illustrations were for Charles Dickens’ novels in the famous Household Edition published by Chapman and Hall. Baranard produced an epic 450 illustrations for Dickens over a period of eight years. He also contributed to ‘Illustrated London News’ and ‘Punch’ and exhibited at the Universal Expositions of Paris in 1878. By the 1880’s Barnard had moved with his wife to live with a colony of artists in the Cotwolds. He was published in New York with, ‘Harper’s Weekly’ and, ‘Selmar Press,’ at this time.
At the end of the nineteenth century Barnard had become renowned as a portraitist to the Royal Family and the aristocracy. Though in 1891, when Barnard’s son Geoffrey died, he became deeply depressed and took to smoking laudanum. He perished in a bed fire at the height of his artistic success on the 28 September 1896 in Wimbledon.