Thursday, 9 March 2017


Carlos concludes his 1838 review with comments on designs for secular buildings. On the whole he finds a little more to like here,although he has some cutting remarks about the "Cast Iron Necropolis". The Westminster Bridge, Deptford and Greenwich Railway, for which John Davis Paine created elaborate drawings, was never constructed, and other contemporary reports confirm it was never likely to have been.
 There are but few designs in Grecian architecture; among which the most important are the following :—

William Wilkins' East India College, Haileybury. The building was 30 years old when Carlos saw  the architect's drawing at the Royal Academy.
Downing College as intended by Wilkins. Construction had actually begun in 1807 and proceeded fitfully.

View of the Principal Front of Downing College, Cambridge, now in Progress. W.Wilkins, R.A. View of the East India College, built at Haileybury. W. Wilkins, R.A.-—These drawings appear to be placed in juxta position, to show how far an exceedingly common-placed design can be varied to suit two buildings, a very favourite process with modern architects. The second is the parent design; a long line of front broken by three porticoes, one in the centre of the design, the others in the wings— equidistant from the centre. The same arrangement appears in the Cambridge College, except that two lateral porticoes appertain to separate piles of buildings, and so far are in better taste. Neither of the porticoes, however, occupies its right place at the extremity of the building, but all are placed against the side—the common fault of a modern Grecian example.
In street architecture the following design is marked with originality.
1198. D'Oyley's Warehouse, 346. Strand, corner of New Wellington Street, now re-building.  S. Beazley.—The style of the decorations is that of the age of Louis XIV. upon the whole a bad school to follow, but in the present instance it is very well adapted to an extensive shop and warehouse.
Lewis Vuillamy's new  facade for the Royal Institution, as drawn by TH Shepherd.
 1119. View in Albemarle Street of the new Front of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. L. Vuiliamy.—A clever adaptation of the principal elevation of the Dogana at Rome to an older building: the principal variation from the original is in the division of the pilasters in the attic.
1098. An Attempt at a Polychromic Restoration of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates. C. Vickers.—The principal restorations consist of the golden tripod raised on the beautiful finial which crowns the tholus, the volutes of which are strengthened by golden dolphins resting on the marble scrolls which still exist on the monument. Colour is applied to the frieze, and has a very pleasing effect.
1753. Sketch of a Design for a Cast Iron Necropolis, adapted for Churchyards or other Cemeteries. J. Gaudy, A.—We mistook it for a retort house, in some extensive gas works; packing the undistinguished dead in cast-iron pipes and laying them one upon another in rows, and those of more importance in vats and boilers, would create ludicrous sensations, and give rise to any but proper feelings.
1105. Westminster and Greenwich Railway, View of the Terminus adjacent to the foot of Westminster Bridge, Surrey side. J. D. Paine.
1218. Westminster and Greenwich Railway. View of the Bridge crossing the Kent Road near New Cross. J. D. Paine. .—We are pretty well acquainted with both these localities, and are now writing in the latter, yet have never seen either of these objects. Why is language employed to give to structures, whose erection is extremely problematical, the appearance of a present existence?
In the old English domestic style of architecture, the following designs are the most attractive:—

William Donthorn's Great Hall at Highcliffe. Photo via  Chrischurch History Society..

1068. Entrance Hall at High Cliffe, now erected for the Right Hon. Lord Stuart de Rothsay. W. J. Donthorn.
1103. Interior of the Great Hall forming part of a Gentleman's residence in Surrey, erecting under the Superintendence of B. Ferrey. — The above are specimens of the timber roofed halls of our old mansions: the roof of the first named consists of arched beams of oak, but more light and slender than ancient timber work; the hall is embellished with a large window of stained glass and paintings on the walls. The second example is a portion of the same design which appeared in last year's exhibition; it possesses more decidedly the character of an old hall, the principals are larger, and the smaller beams between them marked by the ornamental detail, usually met with in such situations; the windows are of the Tudor description, and the hall is furnished with an oriel. The architect does not state in what part of Surrey it is to be erected.
Kingsworthy rectory by John Chessell Buckler

JC Buckler's Costessey (also spelt Cossey) Hall, Norfolk.

1070. The Rectory House, Kingsworthy, Hampshire. J. Buckler.
1074. Cossey Hall, Norfolk. J. Buckler. —The rectory house is a pleasing structure of red brick in the Tudor style of architecture; the chimnies and gables are introduced where they are required; they form, it is true, ornamental accessories, but are not merely ornaments without utility. Cossey Hall appears in one of the many points of view, in which this very picturesque mansion shows itself to so much advantage, the view comprises the magnificent oriel windows, the great tower, and the chapel. Both these structures are highly creditable to Mr. J. C. Buckler, from whose designs, with the exception of the chapel at Cossey, both structures were erected.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017


The first half of an article from The Gentleman's Magazine.  for July 1838. The writer is unnamed, but was clearly the magazine's regular corespondent, Edward James Carlos.  In general, Carlos prefers Gothic church designs to classical ones, but is frustrated by the low quality and superficial styling of the "pointed" designs presented at the academy. The catty remarks on Inwood  and Clifton' church in  Islington are particularly delightful.

Of the churches listed, those at Bury, Hereford, Islington and Honiton survive. Brookes' work at Dorking was considerably altered  later in the 19th century, and the buildings at Blackheath and Whitechapel have been demolished. Newman's design for Southwark was never built, the job going instead to Pugin.

This is a portion of the annual exhibition which has never received from the council of the academy the attention which the subjects demand: either the designs sent in are deficient in numbers, or a want of judgment must have influenced the selection of those which are exhibited. This fault was very apparent in the former gallery; it is not remedied in the present. The room appropriated to the architectural drawings is not sufficiently large to display them to advantage, and even the brief space which is allotted is still incroached upon by another class of subjects. 
CR Cockerell's tribute to Wren
 If any designs have been rejected, it would be a curious speculation to endeavour to ascertain the causes which led to such a step; for among those which are exhibited we notice some which had better have been left out — puffs for railways, which will never be heard of out of the share-market, and the fittings-up of rooms by paper-hangers, neither of which description of designs have any business in the exhibition, however useful they may be as advertisements. We give priority, both on account of its originality and artist-like character, to a fine drawing by Mr. C. R. Cockerell, R. A. entitled,
1111. Tribute to the memory of Sir Christopher Wren, being a collection of his principal works.—The principal, if not all the known works of the great master, are brought together and grouped in a pyramidal form with great taste and skill. The summit of the eminence is crowned with the grand masterpiece of Wren, St. Paul's; on one side, the towers and intended spire of Westminster just show themselves; below the cathedral, Greenwich and Chelsea are exhibited as examples of palatial architecture, and the observatory seen in the distance of the domestic class; the vast collection of London spires spring up in the foreground and middle distance, each with its proper elevation, and every one distinctly marked in detail; the interior of a church or two in section, the Oxford Theatre, and the dome of the Physicians' College, are also shown: the entire composition forming one of the most splendid architectural groups imaginable. The well-known epitaph forms an appropriate motto; and the whole is worthy of the deepest regard, not only as a collection of fine architectural objects, but as a just tribute to a wonderful exercise of human genius. What would be the feelings of a stranger to Wren and London when he witnesses this aggregation of beautiful objects, to be told that the whole were the production of one individual ?—What powers of mind must that man have possessed—what an inexhaustible fund of imagination must have been at his command? We hope Mr. Cockerell will not omit to engrave this design. 
In ecclesiastical architecture, there are many subjects; but the majority do not rise above common-place. Of this class the following are examples:  
1063. View of the Catholic Church of St. Edmund at Bury. C. Day.
1199. The Catholic Church of St. Francis Xavier, Broad-street, Hereford. C. Day.—A plain unbroken body or nave, with a recess on the principal front, in which is placed two columns, is the leading feature of each design: the first is Ionic, the second Doric; both are of Grecian architecture. In the second design, a cupola peeps above the roof, an excessively correct addition to a Grecian portico: the cross alone marks the character of the edifice ; remove the sacred symbol, and the design will suit any other description of building for which it may be needed—an assembly or auction-room, a court house, or a mechanics' institution. —Why was not the Pointed style used? 
St Mark, Whitechapel, Wyatt and Brandon's "church  on the Tenter-ground". Demolished 1927. Image source and more information here.
 1084. The new Church erecting on the Tenter-ground for the Metropolis Church fund, by Wyatt and Brandon.—A plain structure with a diminutive spire set on a square tower. The chief fault is an attempt to produce more than the means of the architects allowed.

Inwood and Clifton's St Stephen, Canonbury. Photo by John Salmon via Geograph
1157. New Gothic Church as approved by the Metropolitan Church Commissioners, and now commencing in the New North Road, Islington, from the designs and under the superintendance of Messrs. W.and H. W. Inwood.—W. Inwood, H. W. Inwood, and E. N. Clifton.—An exceedingly bald elevation, showing a square naked wall for its principal front, in three divisions, the centre being carried up to form a tower. And what a concentration of talent is necessary to raise this pile! We here witness three architects conjoined in building a brick wall: a century ago one was deemed sufficient to design and execute a cathedral.
Christ Church, Cheltenham. The name of the architect was actually Jearrad.
 1249. Model of Christ Church, Alstone, now building in the parish of Cheltenham. R. W. and C. Jerraud.—An attempt at Gothic architecture; a genuine meeting-house set off with a stock of pinnacles. It would be desirable to know the mode by which joint-stock productions in architecture are created. Are the designs individual!? the work of more than one hand? Or does the plurality of names merely denote a partnership in trade? 
James William  Wild's  Holy Trinity, Blackheath Hill.  Demolished 1954. Image: British Library.
1085. Design selected by the Committee for the New Church to be erected on Blackheath Hill. J. W. Wild.— This is a lancet  Gothic church, the east end polygonal, situated between two towers crowned with spires; to be grand, such a design should be executed on a large scale, and with a greater degree of expense than is likely to be allowed to a church built by subscription. The design is foreign: towers in such a situation are exceedingly rare in England, and the ridge ornaments seen on the roof are in this country confined to a solitary example.
1196. The New Parish Church of St. Martin, Dorking, Surrey. W.M. Brookes. —One of those structures which seems to make the antiquary the more keenly regret the loss of the older church. So much of the preceding structure as exists tends to give an ecclesiastical appearance to the pile, but the tower and transepts are marred by the long ugly body with a slated roof, which serves as the nave.
1221. Sketch of the Roman Catholic Church, proposed to be erected in St. George's Fields. J. Newman.—A cruciform design in the lancet style, with a central tower and spire; it appears to possess character in the general design, but the sketch does not show the detail sufficiently. 
Charles Fowler's church of S Paul at Honiton

1226. The Church just erected at Honiton. C. Fowler.—A Norman design, but too lofty in its proportions: a plain spire is intended, but it is not yet completed.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

How To Look Like An Artist

Photo: Rijksmuseum. High definition version available here.
Particularly splendid pastel self-portrait by Abraham Hulk Snr's teacher, Jean Augustin Daiwaille (1786-1850).

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

A list of artists of the Hulk family

Self-portrait byy Araham Hulk Senior (1813-1897)

This list is an attempt to clarify the  bewildering range of names and conflicting dates given for the artists of the Hulk family. It has been checked against Familysearch where possible, and  in a couple of places with Dutch newspapers available online. In the main, it ties in quite neatly with the information given on the RKD database for the Dutch born members of the family, with one or two additions.  It seems that  a certain amount of confusion comes from some of Abraham Hulk Junior's children adding an "e" to their surname sometime around the First World War. Several of the family went by both Dutch and English variants of their names.

First generation:
* Abraham Hulk Senior. Born Shoreditch, London, 1813, son of Hendrik Hulk, a Dutch merchant. Lived in England from 1870, but died at Zevenaar  in 1897.
* Johannes Frederik Hulk. Abraham Snr's younger brother. Born Amsterdam 1829, died Haarlem 1911.

Second generation:
* Hendrik Hulk. Son of Abraham Hulk Snr. Born Amsterdam 1842. Died in Haarlem in 1937 at the age of 94. A brief obituary in Dutch here.
* Abraham Hulk Junior. Son of Abraham Hulk Snr. Born Amsterdam 1843, died Eastry, Kent 1919.
* William Frederick. Son of Abraham Hulk Snr. Born Amsterdam 1852. lived much of his life in Shere, Surrey, and died at Guildford  in 1921.
* John Frederick / Johannes Frederik. Son of the older Johannes Frederik. Born Amsterdam 1855, died Vreeland 1913. By the end of his life the English form of his name was used even in Dutch sources.

Third generation:
* Frederick Martines Hulk. Born St Pancras, London, 1876. Son of Abraham Hulk Junior. Graduate of St Catherine's College, Cambridge, Died Wycombe, Buckinghamshire,  5 June, 1950, described as "late of Deal, Kent",. Signed his work "F. Martines  Hulk".
* William Claude Hulk. Born St Pancras, London, 1876. Son of Abraham Hulk Junior.  Died Lambeth 1955. I'm guessing that he was the painter of the many works signed "Claude Hulke"; I can't find any trace of anyone else who might have done them.
* Henry Dollond Hulk. Born Brixton 1885. Son of Abraham Hulk Junior. Died Dover 1968. Signed his work "H. Dollond-Hulke"
* Frederick William Leicester Hulk. Son of William Frederick Hulk. Born St Pancras 1881. Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1898. Recorded at Frinton, Essex, in the 1911 census.

Monday, 26 December 2016

H Dollond Hulke

I came across this watercolour, signed H. Dollond-Hulke in a charity shop.  He's an artist whose  landscapes and coastal scenes  show up in  auction catalogues occasionally. Sometimes the "Dollond" is misread as "Hollond" or "Holland", because of the curious "D" of his signature. His works rarely seem to raise much interest and perhaps this is understandable: they often seem curiously empty, devoid of people or architecture. Over the last hundred years or so plenty of people have made made an aesthetic out of the curiously empty, but its not immediately obvious that this was Dollond-Hulke's intention.  A big red-brown cliff  on the right, with a series of headlands rapidly receding into blueness. Half-a dozen-seagulls hang in the air above the breaking surf.  The composition is a bit naive, but  it's nicely enough  painted.

H Dollond-Hulke doesn't show up on the genealogy websites, but Henry Dollond Hulk - without the terminal "e" - does. He was born in Brixton in 1885, the son of Abraham Hulk  and his wife Blanche, née Werninck. Abraham, born in Amsterdam in 1844,  was a member of a large Anglo-Dutch family of artists who pursued their careers in both Britain and the Netherlands. His father, also called Abraham,  was a marine painter, but Abraham Jnr also painted landscapes.

Henry's family moved around quite a lot - they were in Willesden in 1891, Nottinghamshire in 1901 and Henley in 1911. Henry D Hulk is recorded under that name in the census of 1911, with his profession given as "painter (artist)".  By the time of their deaths, Henry, his three brothers and an unmarried sister were all recorded as "Hulke".  Perhaps the "e" was added during the First World War in an attempt to give the name a less Germanic look (though to me the effect is quite the opposite). He was presumably  the Henry D Hulke who died in Dover, aged 83, in 1968.

His  brother  Frederick Martinus signed his work "F. Martinus Hulk".  I suspect that  the  painter who signed  "Claude Hulke" was another brother, William Claude (1878 - 1955).

Monday, 10 October 2016

Virtuosi, we have eight years to find this painting!

E.D.  Leahy drawn by JP Davis 1830.
In 1824 the Somerset House Gazette reviewed Edward Daniel Leahy's painting  "Catching the Expression", shown at the British Institution that year. Like most of the artists work it has, alas, slipped into obscurity.
We know not whether this admirable record of an artist's study, is that of young Edwin Landseer's, or young Edward Leahy's, as both their portraits are introduced; but, as this picture is well worthy of preservation, we can fancy some group of virtuosi, some two hundred years hence, peering through their glasses at these two old English masters. We delight to hold a morning gossip in tne confusionary of a painter, up to our knees in portfolios, broken casts, lay-figures, velvet cushioned chairs, without a chair to sit upon, amidst the arcana  of art. All these trophies of present study, however, will he regarded the more, anno domini two thousand and twenty-four, as they will  then savour of dry antiquity. Here we have another instance of the advantage resulting from careful finishing. This apparently playful effusion of the talent of Mr. Leahy, is a work taken up in earnest. It is an excellent effort of an aspiring young artist, and its merit is acknowledged. We are gratified to find, that a gentleman of taste has purchased this picture for the sum of one hundred guineas. Merit does not always remain unrewarded.
The New Annual Register, though less informed. had a few more details:
 "Catching the Expression," is, in parts, a clever and pleasing little work. It represents a young artist's study, probably that of the artist himself, E. D. Leahy, who is watching intently while another youth is setting a little dog at a cat, and "catching the expression" of the scene. The portraits are very cleverly executed, and include considerable individuality of character; and the colouring, though in an agreeable tone, is harmonious and consistent with itself; the animals are very indifferently expressed, and are quite inferior to the rest of the picture. 
Hopefully the virtuosi of  anno domini two thousand and twenty-four will nicer to cats.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Portrait by Richard Evans identified (almost)

A major commission by Richard Evans,  his portrait of Admiral Sir Edward William Campbell Rich Owen  (1771 – 1849), first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1827,  has been rediscovered. Actually it had been hiding unattributed  in plain sight in the collection of the museum  in Evans' native  Shrewsbury,  under  the title of  "Portrait of a Naval Gentleman".

Admiral Edward Owen by Richard Evans

Admiral Owen  was born in Newfoundland in 1771, the son of a Welsh Naval officer called William Owen, who has an unusually clear and interesting Wikipedia entry:
Captain William Owen (1737–1778), born in Glan Severn, Montgomeryshire, Wales, of a family of Welsh gentry. He was youngest son of David Owen of Cefn Hafod, Montgomeryshire. He was a member of the Royal Navy and lost his right arm from a wound suffered during the Seven Years' War off Pondicherry when supporting the British East India Company forces in 1760. Not content with the half pension he was receiving, he served as an impress officer. After the war, Owen contacted a former fellow officer, Lord William Campbell, who had recently been appointed governor of Nova Scotia. Late in 1766, Owen travelled with Campbell to Halifax. The following year, as payment for his work in aid of Campbell, he was awarded a large parcel of land. The grant, which included three of his nephews as grantees, was Passamaquoddy Outer Island in Passamaquoddy Bay. In 1770, Owen renamed the island Campobello Island after Lord Campbell; he also took into account the Italian meaning, "fair field", of the new name.
In England, Owen spent some time in Shrewsbury, where he was sworn a freeman of borough on 5th October 1764, and, by then a Captain in the navy, served as Mayor in 1775-76, following which he returned to service in India.  Owen was killed, accidentally,  in Madras, India while carrying dispatches from India to England.
 Owen left on his death two surviving natural sons via Sarah Haslam (latter named Sarah Bagshaw). His eldest son was Edward William Campbell Rich Owen and his younger son was William Fitzwilliam Owen. The latter became sole owner of Campobello Island in 1835 and settled there.
Although Admiral Owen's father was mayor of Shrewsbury, his own connections to the town were rather slight, as William Owen set up Sarah Haslam and his sons in a house near Manchester. A detailed outline of Edward Owens's life can be found on the  History of Parliament website.

Nevertheless, Shrewsbury thought it worthwhile to honour him with a civic portrait. It is mentioned in Henry Pidgeon's " Memorials of Shrewsbury" (1837), amongst a list the paintings due to be installed in the new Guild Hall:
The following portraits, presented to the late corporation, will decorate the walls of the new building : —King Charles I. Charles II. William III. George I. George II. George III. Queen Charlotte, Admiral Benbow (a native of Shrewsbury), the Right Hon. Lord Hill (by Sir William Beechy), and Admiral Owen (by R. Evans, Esq. a towns man). The two latter portraits possess life and spirit in their execution, and are justly esteemed most faithful resemblances of these illustrious heroes and fellow-citizens.
The portraits of Benbow and Hill are both in the collection of the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, so it would make sense to look for Evans' depiction  of Owen there. And the museum's "Portait of a Naval Gentleman" - shown wearing what certainly looks like the regalia of a Knight of the Order of the Bath - seems the only possible candidate

Despite good cirumstantial evidence for the identification of the painting, one slight problem remains: the naval gentleman doesn't look much like the one painting of Owen in the public domain, painted by HW Pickersgill in the year before the admiral's death. In this he looks very pale and worn, in contrast to the massive rubicund figure shown in the portrait at Shewsbury.

Admiral Owen byHW Pickersgill
Fortunately, though, there is a much closer resemblance to an engraving of him as a much younger man, used as the frontispiece of  the first volume of Abraham Crawford's "Reminiscences of a naval officer, during the late war"  (1851). He is only named in an illegible scrawled facsimile signature, and detached from the book this depiction of Owen would be completely unidentifiable. His identity is, though,  confirmed by the declaration  on the title page that memoirs are "embellished with portraits of Admirals Sir Edward Owen and Sir Benjamin Hallowell Carew". The engraving of Carew forms the frontispiece of the second volume and there are no other illustrations.

Crawford gives an extensive biography of Owen, which  includes some reminiscences of his striking physical appearance. He remembers from his first meeting:
My new Captain was a man somewhat turned of thirty, with light hair and a fair complexion; having an open and cheerful countenance, with bright blue eyes that bespoke at once intelligence and good-nature. His figure was tall and commanding, with a frame of vast power and strength, exhibiting in his person the semblance of one of those Saxon Thanes who led his followers to the conquest of Britain.
Of the period during which the portrait was painted, Crawford  writes:
When the Lord High Admiral resigned his office, in 1828, Sir Edward Owen became one of the Board of Admiralty which was then formed, with Lord Melville at its head; and in December of the same year he was appointed Commander-in-Chief on the East India station. On my return from the West Indies, in the spring of 1829, I found him at Spithead with his flag on board the 'Southampton,' on the eve of starting for his destination. I immediately got a boat, and went on board to see my old and valued chief I found him, as he always was, kind and affable, and glad to see an old shipmate; and I rejoiced to see that though he had grown much stouter, and years had rounded his person, they had not dimmed the lustre of his eye, nor damped the ardour of his vigorous and ever-active mind.
This bulk is tactfully indicated in Evans's painting.

So why the "almost" in the title of this post? Well, the painting's title on Art UK, and presumably in the museum's records, has recently been changed to "Sir Edward Owen Fisher Hamilton (1854–1944), KCB (?) ". Oh well.