Arthur John Strutt began his artistic training following his father, Jacob George Strutt (1784-1867), a landscape painter, on his trips around Europe.
In 1831 he established himself in Rome with his family, continuing to travel, between 1835 and 1837 to France, Switzerland and Germany. In 1838, together with his poet friend William Jackson (1815-1866), he embarked on a long journey on foot to southern Italy, reaching Calabria and Sicily. In 1842 “T.C. Newby” in London published his book called A Pedestrian Tour in Calabria and Sicily in which he wrote about his adventurous experience.
Once back in Rome, he started travelling around the outskirts of the papal capital concentrating on landscapes. Customs and traditions of the Roman Campagna were also his favourite subjects: he was particularly interested in the fashion of the time, depicting many men and women in their typical costumes.
Although he always kept in contact with his home land, his love for Rome was so great that he even began to feel patriotic towards this city: in 1849 he was among the very few British men who signed up with the Foreign Legion under Garibaldi to defend the Roman Republic and, between 1848 and 1849, he became director of The Roman Advertiser a weekly journal for the British community living there at the time that updated them on Roman events.
Another of his great passions was archaeology, that led him to become Honorary Secretary of the “Anglo-American Archaeological Society” and also brought him the title of “Inspector for Excavations and Antique Monuments” in Civita Lavinia, today known as Lanuvio, a small town South of Rome that the artist was very fond of, and where he bought a villa in 1884.
His many-faceted personality increased his fame and several were the commissions he received both from Italy and from Europe. He sent some of his works to the Società degli Amatori e Cultori in Rome, the Royal Academy in London and to the Dublin Exhibition. These works were painted in his Roman studios, in Piazza di Spagna in 1841, later on in Via del Babuino, and finally in Via della Croce 81 where he stayed for the rest of his life.
His paintings are preserved in the main museums of Rome such as: the Museo di Roma of Palazzo Braschi, the Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna and the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica.