Golden Hours is a comprehensive account of the work of Arthur J. Elsley, the most popular "chocolate box" artist of the late Victorian and Edwardian period. The appealing quality of his paintings were easily understood and presented a cozy, idealized world of happy, smiling children and their animals. Elsley displayed much warmth and affection for his subjects and the sentiment in his art gave great pleasure and comfort to ordinary people.
In Britain, reproduction of Elsley's work far outstripped any of the artists who we now associate with the period. His prints were used as promotional and advertising copy by various companies, and for presentation with special issues of magazines such as The Illustrated London News and the Pears Annual. There was an enormous demand for his work and publishers competed to buy his paintings from which literally millions of prints were produced. He was also extremely popular in America and Canada.
Elsley was a very skilled artist. He exhibited fifty-two works at the Royal Academy and many more at other important exhibitions. His achievement is even more remarkable in the light of his severe short-sightedness which led to his having to use opera glasses to see his models. Auction houses have witnessed an extraordinary rise in the popularity of his oil paintings and modern greetings cards, calendar and print manufacturers are ever eager to reproduce his images.