George Goodwin Kilburne, R.I., R.O.I, R.M.S, (24 July 1839 – 1924) was an English genre painter specialising in accurately drawn interiors with figures. He favoured the watercolour medium, although he also worked in oils, pencil and - in his early career - engraving.
George was born at Hackford near Reepham in Norfolk, the eldest of the three children of Goodwin Kilburne (1812–1887) and Rebeccca Button (1801–1880).
Kilburne was educated at Hawkhurst, Kent - his father's old school. On leaving at the age of 15, he went to London to serve a 5-year apprenticeship as a wood engraver with the Dalziel brothers, engravers and illustrators. He was highly regarded by his employers who described him as "industrious and constant" and "one of the most satisfactory pupils we ever had". His time as an engraver served him well, allowing him to develop the accuracy and detail which would enhance his subsequent painting. He remained with the firm for a further year before leaving to take up watercolour and oil painting as a profession, quickly becoming one of the most sought after and well-known artists in England.
In June 1862, Kilburne married Janet Dalziel at Old Church, St. Pancras, London. She was the daughter of Robert Dalziel, the painter and brother of the Dalziel brothers. They had three sons and two daughters - of these his eldest son, George Goodwin Kilburne Jnr., became a very well known painter of animals and figures, principally of sporting subjects. In 1881 the family were recorded as living in Hampstead, London.
Janet died in 1882. In 1889 Kilburne married Edith Golightly (34 years his junior) and a further two children ensued - Edith May (Born 1900) and Constance Ivy (born 1902).
Kilburne was a keen sportsman and equestrian and involved himself in hunting, cycling and golf. He possessed a good collection of arms and armour, mainly swords, which often figured in his pictures. He was said to be very quiet and almost retiring in manner, yet very companionable and a friendly and a genial host.
He lived for many years at Hawkhurst House, 39 Steeles Road, Haverstock Hill, Hampstead in London and was a member of the Artists' Society Club at Langham Chambers. At the time of his death, in 1924, he was living at 16, Albion Road, Swiss Cottage, London, but died at his daughter Florence's home, next door to his old house, 38 Steeles Road, Haverstock Hill, Hampstead, London.