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  • Artist Profile Image - Francis L. Horspool

Francis L. Horspool

Francis Leroy Horspool was born in Ogden , Utah in 1871. A self-taught and self-proclaimed "primitive" painter, he painted scenes with fantastic figures and faces done in great detail. He died in Salt Lake City in 1951.

Horspool's paintings were "two-coat" works, with a second coat of paint over the first with paint extending over the frame so that the frame becomes part of the picture. Horspool, the son of a British-born convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, worked as a fireman, civil engineer, salesman, and railroad man before moving to Salt Lake in 1907.

As his skill and interest in precision drawing increased, he turned to painting and photography as forms of expression (1924-27). When Horspool was about 60, he began painting full-time. River Bed Station (1939) is part of the Salt Lake County collection.Horspool Family Home (1939) is part of the Springville Museum of Art permanent collection.

Biography adapted from Artists of Utah.

Francis Leroy Horspool was a self proclaimed artist "primitive" painter of a unique frame of mind. Born and raised in Ogden, Horspool was the son of an English mormon emigrant, William F. Horspool who arrived here in 1862. William drove for Ben Holliday's Overland Stage Company between 1862-69 and later he shared these experience with Francis. The younger Horspool worked early both as a fireman and like his father as a railroad man. Moving to Salt Lake City in 1907, he also took jobs as a civil engineer, a salesman and most importantly, a draftsman in 1917. As he developed skill and love for precision drawing as a draftsman, between 1924 and 1927 Horspool turned to the brush and photography as his all consuming loves. His work is all two coat work, that is; the second coat is the same as the first color. Also, a painting by Horspool was typically framed with material onto which the painting could extend; from a distance, such work appears frameless. Horspool also maintained that a number of his works were haunted by fairies and condemned all art that was not "primitive" like his own. He was fond of augmenting his scenes with fantastic figures and faces done in great detail. He died at the age of eighty in Salt Lake City.

Biography courtesy Artists of Utah.

Newspaper Article

"Arts Festival `88." The Deseret News, June 19, 1988.


Dunbier, Lonnie Pierson. ed. The Artists Bluebook: 29,000 North American Artists. Scottsdale, AZ:, 2003.

Olpin, Robert S., William C. Seifrit, Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, William C. Seifrit. Utah Art. Layton, UT: Peregrine Smith Books, 1992.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, William C. Seifrit. Utah Painting and Sculpture. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1991.

 Last Modified 6/20/18