Alfred Wheeler was born near Bath in Somerset, the second son of John Alfred Wheeler (1821-1903), who had retired early from the Army to pursue a successful painting career. Alfred is thought to have studied under his father and to have worked closely with him. There were five members of the Wheeler family who became artists and all specialised in sporting subjects such as horseracing and foxhunting and they also painted animal portraits.
He married Catherine Muspratt in 1874 and moved next door to his father at Raglan Villas, Bath. Alfred then followed his father when the latter moved to Hanwell. Alfred and Catherine had six children of whom Walter Herbert and John Frederick became artists.
Alfred painted such classic winners as "Ladas" and "Persimmon" and the matches between "The Bard" and "Rosicrucias" and "The Bard" and "Ormonde". The collaboration between Alfred and his father was lifelong though and they even painted some of the same racehorses and both received commissions from Baron Rothschild and the Prince of Wales. There is often confusion between Alfred Wheeler and his father because their style is so similar and Alfred occasionally signed J. A. Wheeler like his father or occasionally A. Wheeler senior. He also contributed substantially to many of his father's paintings towards the end of his life which his father signed with his own signature. Generally, Alfred's pictures tend to have more of a photographic quality than those of his father and he was less prolific.
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