Paintings and artists of the Hanleys
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Edward Archer (1827-1892)
In 1912 Malvern Library acquired an oil painting on canvas (51 x 77 cm) entitled The Old Mill Pool, Hanley Castle, 1890. Now badly damaged, it is probably the picture exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1888 (No. 1147) under the title The Old Hills near Malvern by Edwin (sic) Archer of Littleford Lodge, Graham Road, Malvern. In 1924 it was exhibited by Malvern Library with other works by deceased painters, when it was lent by Mrs Romney and catalogued under the amended title of The Old [New crossed out] Pool, near Malvern, 1890, a view heavily obscured by trees.
The 1871 census records Edward Archer as a hotel keeper and wine merchant at the Foley Arms Hotel, and his father John as a retired hotel keeper. Edward's wine merchant business occupied the site of the former Coburg Baths on Worcester Road next to the Foley Arms. Littleford Lodge, now the Cotford Hotel, 51 Graham Road, is an imposing residence with tall chimneys and pierced bargeboards built in 1851. In his early life, his love of drawing was discouraged as being incompatible with the business career for which he was destined. But his passion for art was not extinguished and in his days of prosperity and comparative leisure, it reasserted itself. He was however well into middle life before he began to use the brush. Despite having no art education or training, the results were so remarkable that he was encouraged to continue by the painters David Bates and Benjamin Williams Leader, RA, with whom he had formed a friendship. By 1901 Archer was suffering from bad health and decided to go overland to Egypt with his friend David Bates, but the journey was such a strain that it did more harm than good. He stayed a few days recuperating in Egypt but died on the return trip home aboard the P&O ship SS Oriental.
Mary Brandling (1823-1873)
Daughter of Charles Gifford and Mary Moresby, Mary married twice: first to Herbert Patton, a captain in the Royal Artillery who died in 1854 of cholera during the Crimean War, and secondly in 1856 in Welland (where her aunts Catherine and Jane Moresby lived), to John Brandling, a colonel in the Royal Artillery, who died in 1860. Malvern Library has five watercolours by Mary Brandling, all dated 1856. One is Hanley Castle Church. Another, entitled Seatstone and Heathland, shows two houses in Welland owned by her aunts.
They sold Heathlands House, Welland, with 8 acres of land in1867 to Rev Henry Knight for £6,300; he and his family were there at the time of the 1871 and 1881 censuses. A third watercolour entitled Malvern Hills from the New Pool shows cows drinking on the edge of a large pool with Malvern in the background; it is possibly the same pool painted by Edward Archer 34 years later, but with far fewer trees and the hills clearly visible.
George Row Clarke (1858-89)
Painted a watercolour entitled Old House at Hanley Castle in 1883, but it is not identifiable in the village; it was sold by Sulis Fine Art in March 2016 for £362.40. Another scene by Clarke dated 1883 is a drawing of the east front of Severn End; this was used on a poster entitled A Village Day at Hanley Castle when Sir Berwick and Lady Lechmere arranged a programme of events on 27/28 June 1970. Finally, around the same time as the other two scenes, Clarke painted a watercolour of Upton Old Church from behind the houses across the road from the church.
Rev Hubert Jones (1891-?)
Vicar of Hanley Castle from 1922 to 1942, painted Birley Mill around 1930.
Henry Harris Lines (1800-1889)
Landscape artist and archaeologist, eldest son of Birmingham artist and drawing master, Samuel Lines (1778–1863). He exhibited at the Royal Academy, British Institution and Society of British Artists. Between 1818 and 1846, he exhibited 18 works at the Royal Academy, all landscapes, spanning the Midlands to Cornwall and Yorkshire. He also exhibited at the Birmingham Society of Arts from 1827 to 1856. Henry Lines moved to Worcester in 1832, because of the cholera epidemic that was spreading across the Midlands and embarked on a new career as an amateur archaeologist and antiquarian, spending much of his later years surveying the Malvern Hills, meticulously taking measurements and visually recording the ancient and physical features.
Albert Stevens (1847-1934)
Stevens painted a watercolour of the Malvern Hills around 1890, probably from the top floor of a house that stood on the site of Hanley Castle until it burnt down in 1904. It was bought on eBay by The Hanleys’ Village Society in April 2014 for £60. A professional landscape painter and watercolour artist, Stevens retired to Malvern about 1924 where he and his wife Mary set up a studio at The Manse, Malvern Wells. His work was exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Academy (1877-1902), the New Watercolour Society and all the major London galleries. The initials JSW are found on a fine drawing in the collection of The Hanleys’ Village Society of St Mary’s church dated 1859. But who was JSW? Possibly a member of the Walters family, but unable to link the initials to William Walters, curate of Hanley Castle in 1861, or his mother Stephana or his father James Woodbridge Walters.
George Paterson Yeats (1923-1901)
Between 1878 and 1889 Yeats painted a number of watercolour scenes in the parish of Hanley Castle, now in Malvern Library, including Hanley Castle village cedar tree, church & almshouses; the rear of the Three Kings Inn; a view of the village from the cricket ground; Merevale Farm, and Northend Farm. Although starting his working life as a cabinet maker’s apprentice, by 1851 he was established as a professional portrait painter in Edinburgh and went on to become Master of the Government School of Art in Stourbridge.
From 1864 to 1873 he was Headmaster of the Worcester School of Art; on his retirement, students from the school presented him with a purse of gold as a token of their esteem. He moved to Malvern and opened a studio at the Promenade, painting many views of the area.