Gilbert Holiday was operational during the resurgence of British sporting art in the early twentieth century. A contemporary of Cecil Aldin (1870-1935), C. J. Payne 'Snaffles' (1884-1967), Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) and Lionel Edwards (1878-1966), he painted all manner of equestrian subjects, including hunting, racing and polo scenes. After studying at the Royal Academy, Holiday began working as an illustrator for publications such as the Graphic, the Tatler and the Illustrated London News.
When war was declared in 1914 he continued to work for the Graphic as a war artist before joining the army and serving as gunner in the Royal Field Artillery on the Western Front. His artistic talents were soon spotted and he was made a Reconnaissance Officer. Amongst other things he was assigned with, at high risk, sketching enemy positions in No Man's Land. It was during this time, often having to work quickly, he developed a certain fluidity and spontaneity to his style. His painting continued in this manner after the war and was particularly suited to his interest in the equine subject. He visited major race meetings such as the Grand National and the Derby to find inspiration.
After studying at the Royal Academy, Holiday started working as an illustrator for a few well-known publications of that era such as Graphics, Tatler and The Illustrated London News. When the war was declared in 1914, he never stopped to work as a war artist in graphic arts before joining the Army and serving his people as a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery Corps on the Western Front. His artistic talent was quickly discovered and he was appointed as a scout. In particular, he was tasked with outlining the location of high-risk enemies in the no-man's land. During this time, he often developed certain liquidity and spontaneity in his style when he had to work quickly.
His artworks remained progressive in this manner after the war and were specifically suited to his interest in the equine subject. Joseph visited major race meetings, for instance the Grand National and the Derby to find inspiration.
Gilbert Joseph is believed to have broken his back in a hunting accident in April 1933. However, he continued to paint as brilliantly as ever until pneumonia set in and died in the early days of 1937.
Gilbert Joseph Holiday became perhaps the finest action painter of the horse in equestrian art. Lionel Edwards, his great contemporary, had spoken words about him - 'no one can or ever could, depict or paint a horse in motion better than Gilbert did'.
To name a few of his magnum opus paintings were Morning Ride, Cross Country, Firing The Field Guns On The Western Front, Cavalry Charge, Under Fire On The Western Front, and The Royal Field Artillery Moving A Gun Carriage Into Position. A few of these aforementioned pieces of art are high-paid. They were sold out after their exhibition at different galleries.