George Matthias Winkles was born in Birmingham, England, 1859. Winkles came to SA in 1889 to help a widowed sister stranded on the Kimberley diggings. He never returned to England. Pre-Raphaelitism was a formative influence on his work, as was a study trip to Paris and Antwerp in 1888. Between 1877 and 1888 he showed regularly with the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, and still sent work to them after settling in SA. In 1915 he had two pictures hung "on the line" at the RA in London. He was at Kamp's Cafe on Plein Street in 1897 when SASA was first founded, and elected Secretary. He was again present on 26 September 1902 when SASA was re-initiated, this time elected as a Council member. His love for a woman named Ada Morris resulted in a number of romantic female portraits painted between 1896 and 1902, one of which is exhibited here.
He showed on all the recorded SASA exhibitions up to 1910. His photograph appeared in The Cape Weekly Argus Edition of 2 January 1902 as a "Famous South African Artist". However, life for him in Cape Town was hard, compounded by his shy and reclusive nature. Minutes of the SASA meeting of 23 September 1913 mention his long illness, and a decision to waive any commission on sales of his pictures to alleviate his desperate finances. He earned a poor living from retouching black and white photographs. He also painted local landscapes and still lifes in the Dutch manner, and took portrait commissions. He had studios in various places over the years; initially at 1 St John's Street, then in a building named Whitehall on Greenmarket Square, and subsequently in Shortmarket Street. He died in Cape Town, 1928.
Exhibitor on SASA-reIated exhibitions c.1898 - 1950: 1898: 2nd Annual Exh. of SASA, Banq. Rm., Good Hope Hall, 30 Jul. 1902: SASA 1st Annual Exh. mass. with SADC, Drill Hall, | Darling St., 9 Dec. 1903: SASA 2nd Annual Exh., in 055. with SADC, Drill Hall, Darling St., Dec. 1904: SASA Exh, of Pictures, Div. Council Chambers, Greenmarket Sq. 1910: 3rd Annual | Exh. SAEAA, combined with SASA and SADC, Drill Hall, Darling St., fm. 2 Nov.