Monday, 27 December 2010

Weaving and the Suffragettes

From researching about the suffragette connections, I have discovered information regarding weaving and the suffragette movement.  Whilst this is not directly linked to the Peasant Arts movement, it provides an interesting insight into what was happening with other weavers at the time, and also it allows me to use some nice festive pictures!

Altered original from The Women's Library (London Metropolitan University), Suffrage Banners collection

 Haslemere’s Suffragette banner was made by the nearby St Edmundsbury Weaving Works at College Hill, Haslemere. The banner which was noted by the newspaper at the time for being particularly beautiful carried the slogan ‘weaving fair and weaving free England’s web of destiny’ (Surrey Times, 20 June 1908).   Whilst I cannot find a picture of this banner, their banner for the first garden city, Letchworth Garden City, where they relocated in 1908 is certainly striking.

St Edmundsbury Weavers baner, designed by  Edmund Hunter, 1909 from First Garden City Heritage Museum, Letchworth

St Edmundsbury Weaving Works was established in 1902 in Haslemere by Edmund Hunter, and in 1908 it moved to Letchworth Garden City to a purpose built factory.  According to the Garden City Museum the St Edmundsbury Weaving Works produced hand woven silks for church furnishings and theatre sets and coat linings for Burberry’s.  Demand for the linings became so great that the company introduced power looms and relocated to the purpose built factory.  The company made some items designed by C.F. Voysey which are in the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Wright (Hindhead or The English Switzerland, Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co, 1898) reported on the 1905 Handicraft exhibition held at Haslemere, “the result of the anti-machinery movement which had for sometime been on foot in the county” which included Godfrey Blount and was visited by “Her Majesty the Queen, who purchased several articles and gave orders for others”.  This was Queen Alexandra, Wright states that “from the St Edmundsbury silk-weaving looms…came the rich red silk hangings now in use in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace”.

from The Women's Library (London Metropolitan University), Suffrage Banners collection
Referring to presumably to Haslemere’ banner as seen at the Women’s Sunday suffragette march on 21st June 1908  in London where 200,000-300,000 people gathered in Hyde Park, one of the largest single demonstrations at that time Jutta Schwarzkopf devotes a chapter in her book Unpicking Gender: the social construction of gender in the Lanchasire cotton to ‘Weaving Fair and Weaving Free: England; Web of Destiny – Interweaving Shopfloor, Home and Street’.  Banners played an important part in the suffragette movement, being carried at marches and displaying detailed and colourful works of art, bearing emblems, names of campaigners and famous female figures and achievements.  

from The Women's Library (London Metropolitan University), Suffrage Banners collection

In a pamphlet called "Banners and Banner-Making" written by Mary Lowndes meticulous advice is given upon the size and construction of suffragette banners, "the Artists' Suffrage League has invented a double hook, made on the lines of those used for Church banners, which is fixed to the upright pole at about one foot from the top and which prevents the banner from swinging round when carried; it can be obtained from the Secretary, price 6d."  The Women’s Library has an amazing collection of these, which includes one for Josephine Butler (1828-1906), who was recorded in a previous post: Greville MacDonald’s father, George MacDonald regarded her as a close friend.  She was a feminist particularly concerned with the welfare of prostitutes.  

from The Women's Library (London Metropolitan University), Suffrage Banners collection

Banners were specially designed for the Women’s Trades and Profession Procession in 1909.  Although these banners were not confined to being woven as can be seen below.

from The Women's Library (London Metropolitan University), Suffrage Banners collection

Schwarzkopf interprets the Haslemere banner as being produced by oppressed factory workers, which is at odds with the Haslemere Weaving Industry, but it is possible that the St Edmundsbury Weaving Works was less socially inclined, although it is noted that they gave staff paid holidays which was unusual at the time.

Women's Sunday March, 21 June 1908, from the Museum of London collection

Schwarzkopf reports that the weavers of the Haslemere banner: “used their work-related skills to produce an item the object of which was to proclaim to the public at large the extent to which they saw themselves as determining how their country fared economically. 

from The Women's Library (London Metropolitan University), Suffrage Banners collection

Being employed in one of Brtiain’s key industries, they regarded her economic destiny as hinging upon both the volume and quality of the produce of their labour.  Yet their participation in the big London rally at the same time demonstrates that they felt their crucial role their country’s economy to be at odds with the recognition denied them as citizens. 

from The Women's Library (London Metropolitan University), Suffrage Banners collection

 Significantly, on that march, they adopted a stand, not only as disenfranchised women, but also, in a marked display of self-confidence, as female weavers claiming the recognition they felt was due to them in their double role of skilled workers and women….the outstanding feature of the weavers’ banner was therefore its celebration of working women’s pride in their contribution to the well-being of the country articulated by the women themselves.”

A liberty goose delivering votes, from The Women's Library (London Metropolitan University), Suffrage Banners collection

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Suffragette connections Part 7 - The Sisters

 Having examined some tangential suffragette connections, it is time to return to one of the most obvious connections that the Peasant Arts movement had with female empowerment: the leading roles assumed by Ethel Blount and Maude Egerton King, the sisters.
The Wheel and Spindle Club, Sandhouse, Witley.  Reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum
Above is a picture that I believe contains both sisters, however which is which is not clear!  Standing on the far right is definitely either Maude Egerton King or Ethel Blount.  The other sister may also be in the photo, perhaps sitting in the middle behind the wheel, looking downwards, as she appears to have similar facial features to the woman on the end.  King and Blount jointly ran the Wheel and Spindle Club (more on this below).

At the core of the sisters beliefs was the importance of home industry and the impact of this work upon spiritual well-being.  This is well demonstrated in Greville MacDonald’s first hand description of Maude Egerton King “she felt that the spiritual worth of spinning and weaving, of building chairs and tables, or of carving vessels or crucifixes for the home, was absolute…so the humblest home was to her more sacred than any church or shrine or altar” (MacDonald, Reminiscences of a Specialist, 1932).
Image from the exhibition 'Hand Made Tales: Women and Domestic Craft', The Women's Library, London

It is interesting to see the parallels behind Blount and King's views with those of today.  The current Women's Library exhibition, curated by Carol Tulloch is described as "a timely exhibition focusing on the role domestic crafts play in many women’s experiences. It draws on the connections between the current revival of domestic crafts such as sewing, gardening, and cooking and the historical roots of the domestic arts within the home."

Ethel Blount in The Story of the Homespun Web (1910) refers to the historical tradition of woman being “identified with her spindle as a man with his spear” and questions “is it so well for the world that women have given up their birthright of this lovely labour, and have left it to be done under the dark skies of factory hands?”.  Blount encourages readers to “accept the spindle, and all it means, nobly, remembering that you also are a part of Fate, spinning by your feelings and deeds the weal or woe of others”. 

Haslemere Weaving, illustration from Woolson, 'Revival of English Handicrafts: the Haslemere industries', The Craftsmen, January 1902
Having finished instructing the reader from the initial scouring of the fleece to weaving their first cloth, Blount declares “when you did but spin you were a spinster: now you are a wife, a weaver.  It has always been recognised as the higher, more worshipful position, and in old pictures it is ever the Queen who sits at the loom, weaving for her household, and he young maids and humbler folk who card and spin”.

The Peasants Arts movement was a close follower of Ruskin and Blount refers to Ruskin’s letter to young girls where he “asks them if they will be housewives or house-moths, Will they fret and consume things of life merely, or will they create and preserve? It is a question which may well be asked of our women to-day, for on their answer depends our civilisation. May they soon begin to choose to be housewives again, makers of homes as well as of cloth!" Blount envisages a women’s movement, not in line with Blatch’s need to vote, but need to weave “if but few can be found to try such a mode of life, let women take heart, and begin it by twos and threes, for more will assuredly follow in their footsteps.  What might not England be in even ten year’s time if women would turn their splendid energies and devotion to this re-conquest?” (Blount, The Story of the Homespun Web, 1910).
from Ethel Blount, The Story of the Homespun Web, 1910

This home-making enabled women to redefine themselves through design; Buckley connects this with linking their personal and political lives (Buckley, ‘On the Margins: Theorizing the History and Significance of Making and Designing Clothes at Home’, Journal of Design History, 11 (2), 1998).  Myzelev interprets such writing as claiming that “the movement, especially women’s efforts in reviving indigenous crafts, allowed them to emerge in the public realm, gain employment, and at times challenge the traditional binary division between male designer and female maker” Myzelev, Craft Revival in Haslemere: she, who weaves…Women's History Review, Vol 18, Issue 4, 2009). 

from Ethel Blount, The Story of the Homespun Web, 1910

An important part of Blount and King’s approach was to impart knowledge through teaching.  The Peasant Arts movement began when Maude Egerton King taught a few local women to weave at Lower Bertley, Witley in 1895 as part of a Home Arts and Industries Association (HAIA) class with some of their products being shown at the annual Home Arts exhibition in the Albert Hall later that year.  In 1898 there were four paid women weavers operating from the Weaving House in Foundry Meadow (Myzelev, Craft Revival in Haslemere: she, who weaves…, Women's History Review, Vol 18, Issue 4, 2009). 

The work conditions for employees were clearly very important to the Peasant Arts movement.  The Art Journal reported that “The Haslemere Weaving Industry, like that of the Peasant Arts Society, employs women and girls from the village, who are taught their craft, and who earn a home-industry wage at work that is pleasant to do, and done in pleasant surroundings.” (‘Haslemere Arts and Crafts’, Art Journal, 1906).
Peasant Arts leaflet header

Ethel Blount ran the Spinning and Weaving School at the Hall of St George in Foundry Meadow, a leaflet for the school proclaimed “This is work too which offers women an opportunity for self-expression, a want particularly felt to-day, when machinery has robbed their homes of so many vital and absorbing industries…The School is entirely disinterested, the promoters receiving no remuneration, and all profits going to further work.”

Ethel Blount and Maude Egerton King jointly ran the Wheel and Spindle Club which they established in 1912 at Sandhouse (the Kings large house in Witley).  Here they taught local girls aged between 7-14 years old to spin.  Blount and King reported on this venture that “To give a little girl the use of her hands is to bring a disinherited princess back into her kingdom” (‘Our experience of the Influence of Handicraft upon the Workers’, Peasant Arts Guild Paper, No. 10 , Ethel Blount and Maude E. King).  

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Suffragette connections Part 6 - The Parents

George and Louisa MacDonald, and their children (Greville standing middle back) from the George MacDonald informational web

Whilst there are no direct links between Greville MacDonald and the suffragette movement, Greville MacDonald’s parents were friends with a number of key feminist campaigners of the mid 19th century.  Greville MacDonald writes of being the first son with many sisters (he had five sisters by the time his brother Ronald was born in 1860) “I had stood alone and the sisters sometimes would exult over my inferiority.  The first social axiom I was taught to express in words was “Ladies first!” My parents intimacy with such protagionists of the feminist movement as the beautiful and devoted Josephine Butler, Madame Bodichon of Girton renown, Mrs Reid, Principal of Bedford College, where my father was lecturer in English Literature, Anna Sidgwick, Miss Buss and Miss Beale, no doubt made deep, if forgotten impression upon me.  The power of suggestion, though not yet formulated, thoroughly convinced me of my sex’s inferiority.  I distinctly remember wondering how it could be that my adored mother had ever married my father who, in spite of his splendour, was only a man.” (MacDonald, Reminiscences of a Specialist,1932).

The women Greville mentions to be friends of his father, the writer George MacDonald, were all campaigners for women’s rights, women’s education being especially prevalent.   Josephine Butler (1828-1906) was a feminist particularly concerned with the welfare of prostitutes.  Barbara Bodichon (1827-1891) campaigned for women’s rights and established English Women’s Journal, and co-founded Girton College, Cambridge, the first women’s residential college.  Elizabeth Jesser Reid (1789-1866) founded Bedford College, University of London, the first higher education college for women.  Dorothea Beale (1831-1906) founded St Hilda’s College, Oxford, which remained an all-women’s college until 2006.  Frances Buss (1827-1894) was headmistress of what is now called the North London Collegiate School and was a campaigner for women’s education.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Suffragette connections Part 5 - Godfrey Blount & Working Women

Blount, Arbor Vitae, 1899

There are connections between the movement to empower women and Godfrey Blount’s role in the Peasant Arts.  Blount contributed to one of the first editions of The New Freewoman.  The journal was launched in June 1913.  Blount contributed “Towards Reconstruction” 1 July 1913.  Unfortunately I have not been able to locate this journal copy (yet!).

The New Freewoman was published fortnightly, priced at 6d but readers were asked to pay £1 in advance for 18 months' copies. Dora Marsden wrote in the first edition: "The New Freewoman is not for the advancement of Women, but for the empowering of individuals - men and women.... Editorially, it will endeavour to lay bare the individual basis of all that is most significant in modern movements including feminism. It will continue The Freewoman's policy of ignoring in its discussion all existing taboos in the realms of morality and religion."

Blount, Arbor Vitae, 1899

The Freewoman that preceded this journal had closed in October 1912.  It was a controversial publication, publishing articles on women's waged work, housework, motherhood, the suffrage movement, and literature, its notoriety and influence rested on its frank discussions of sexuality, morality, and marriage (Wikipedia).

Working Women
Women played a key role in the Peasant Industries.  A brochure for the Haslemere Weaving Industry states that “women and girls from the village, under the superintendence of a Lady Manager, are daily employed at hand-looms…”
Inside the Weaving House, Haslemere

Perhaps it is through these working women, that Harriot Blatch came to visit the Peasant Arts industries.  Blatch was linked to the radical suffragist argument of the 1880s, where citizenship was seen as an economic approach to the suffragette cause, linking the need of working women to vote.  Joannou & Purvis (The Women’s Suffragette Movement: new feminist perspective, Manchester University Press, 1998) sees Fabians such as Blatch as an important influence, Blatch is quoted as saying “women are the source of the race.  It’s supreme smoulders.  To do that work efficiently, they must be politically and economically independent beyond all call.  Free they cannot be under capitalism: the capitalistic systems and feminism are at war”. 

St Cross Hand-Loom Workers, Haslemere

Godfrey Blount advertised under the title of ‘St Cross School of Handicraft’ for “a few lady artists or craftswomen to carry out, under my direction, a new style of wood carving, based on a traditional Swiss pattern, and particularly applicable to furnishing and architectural purposes.  The students will live together at cost price in my present house, which I am just leaving, and they will work for definite hours in a studio in the garden.”  Advertizing for female wood carvers is indeed unusual.  It is not clear where Blount was leaving St Cross to go to, or whether he is referring to his previous address of Foundry Cottage (where he was living with his wife Ethel in the 1901 census).

A leaflet produced sometime during World War One and signed by Godfrey Blount, Warden and Catherine A. Jones, Treasurer is headed the ‘New Crusade Toy Industry for Unemployed Educated Women, in connection with the Women’s Emergency Corps, Baker Street, W.’  It states that “The women we employ belong to that class of artists, actors, companions, governesses etc. who are unfitted by their temperaments and training to accept the majority of the situations vacated by men who have volunteered for service during the war: and the most appropriate work we have found for these women to do is to make a better class of toys than those grotesque and mechanical ones which we cannot believe are really popular with the public to-day.”

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Weaving Houses, Kings Road c.1900

There are 3 houses on Kings Road that were part of the Peasant Arts movement, all of these were designed by Francis Troup. Troup is cited as having recorded in his 1898 diary that he was working on designing 5 buildings for Joseph King: “Copse Cottages, the new laundry, the Weavers house and the studio and workroom” (Jackson, F.W.Troup: Architect 1859-1941, Building Centre Trust, 1985).  Of these The Weaving House and The Studio are the most easy to identify in Kings Road.

The Weaving House, Kings Road, Haslemere from The Studio, Volume 43, February 1908
The Weaving House
This appears to have been used by the Kings for the Haslemere Weaving Industry. The Surrey Times (2nd September 1899) reports that “The new weaving house in Foundry Meadow, to be opened on Tuesday next, consists of two large work-rooms, etc., and is a picturesque building, designed by Mr. Frank Troup.  Eleven looms can be comfortably worked in it…” 
The Weaving House, Kings Road, Haslemere from Winter and Collyer, Around Haslemere and Hindhead in Old Photographs, Alan Sutton Publishing, 1991

Pictures of the outside of this house are the most widely circulated of the Haslemere weaving houses.  In the above a weaving sign of three shuttles can clearly be seen by the gate.  A notice on the gate is headed ‘Haslemere Weaving’.  The entrance door is on the first floor of the building, demonstrating the steep slope that the house is built on.  The entrance ‘bridge’ crosses a small stream referred to historically as ‘Brittons Water’.  This stream was used by the iron foundry in Foundry Meadow which was first started around the late 1500s.

The Tapestry Studio, Kings Road, Haslemere from Art Journal, 1906
The Old Studio
This appears to have been used by the Blounts as the Tapestry Studio. Part of The Old Studio building can be seen to the left of the Weaving House in the picture above. The ladies making hand tufted carpets and appliqué tapestry are probably inside this building in the picture above.

Later, in 1912, the Peasant Arts Museum is said to have moved to 38-40 Kings Road, which is The Weaving House and The Old Studio.  However it is not clear how the collection was accommodated within these working business premises, unless the workplaces transferred to other buildings such as St Cross in Weydown Road where the Blounts opened the School of Handicraft in 1902.
The Weaving House and The Old Studio (behind the horse), Winter, Around Haslemere, Tempus Publishing Limited, 2002

The photograph above shows The Weaving House and The Old Studio in the background.  The side of the hill is much less developed, some buildings can be vaguely seen in the Foundry Meadow area.  In the foreground is a horse-powered pug mill, puddling clay before it was used to make bricks and tiles.  The site of the photograph is what is now the Wey Hill car park.  Wey Hill was previously known as Clay Hill, where there were brickworks.

Side of the Dye House (Pooley, The Changing Face of Shottermill, Acorn Press, 1987)

The Dye House
Perhaps this house is referred to in Troup’s 1898 diary as the ‘new laundry’.  Originally the land of the Dye House bordered both Foundry Meadow (now Kings Road), and also Foundry Lane, the entrance being just next to the entrance to Honey Hill on Foundry Lane.  At some point the building was used as a Dye House and there is a recollection of the Dye House in operation, recorded by Beryl Pooley.  Referring to the Peasant Arts movement, “Some pottery and curtain materials were made to blend in with each other.  People could order their individual colour schemes.  Children in those days could earn pocket money by collecting plants in woven shoulder bags and taking them to the dyeing house (opposite the weaving house) to be used to dye the skeins of thread for weaving…Tablecloths from those days which have been used for over 50 years, are still bright in colour and need little or no ironing.  The colour mixes and designed are most attractive.  There seem to be very few examples of this work left today, which is a great pity.  Hangings were thrown away as people would get fed up with them – the fabrics seemed to last for ever.” (Pooley, The Changing Face of Shottermill, Acorn Press, 1987). 

Later weaving moved to the Dye House, as the illustration of the old weavers sign below demonstrates.  This is the sign that can be seen outside The Weaving House in the photograph above.
Weaving Sign, Kings Road from Winter and Collyer, Around Haslemere and Hindhead in Old Photographs, Alan Sutton Publishing, 1991

All of these houses are now residential homes.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Hine Family Artists

In addition to the Towner Art Gallery exhibition of Henry George Hine in 2003 (in my previous post), the other main Henry George Hine event in recent years was the October 1988 Christie's sale of 'Watercolours by Henry George Hine and other artists of the Hine family'.  It is interesting to see the art that Maude Egerton King's (nee Hine) and Ethel Blount's (nee Hine) close family were producing.

Illustrated by Figures crossing a back Street in London, early morning, Winter, 1887 by Henry George Hine
Henry George Hine 1811-1895
According to the brochure, a large number of the paintings Hine produced in the 1840s and early 1850s, were commissioned by his friend the poet and antiquarian F. Wykeham Archer FSA, who probably commissioned Fire at Drury Lane.    Hine first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1830 with an oil painting Don Quixote in the Sable Mountains, in 1833 he exhibited for the first time at the Royal Society of British Artists a work The Tired Bandit.  He then continued to exhibit at both venues regularly.  His oil painting Smugglers awaiting for a Lugger exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1859 is stated as the turning point in Hine's career, generating a lot of attention.

Henry George Hine

In 1863 Hine was elected to the Institute of Painters in Water Colours, his exhibits that year included St Paul's from Fleet Street and The Great Fire, Cotton's Wharf as seen from the New Cattle Market.  In 1864 Hine exhibited a landscape watercolour View of Ballard Down and Cliffs from Peveril Point, Dorset.  From then on Hine spent the majority of his time painting in his favourite part of England, the South Downs around Brighton, Lewes, Haywards Heath, Midhurst and Eastbourne.  He was to exhibit almost exclusively at the Institute (which became the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1884), and almost exclusively landscapes of the South Downs.  Hine is quoted as saying that "it was as difficult and subtle to mould the shapes of the South Downs as it was a human body".

Records show that Hine exhibited 331 paintings in his lifetime: 306 at the Institute, 16 at Suffolk Street and 8 at the Royal Academy.  His ledger records a large number of his works being commissioned or sold to 3 buyers: Joseph King (his son-in-law), E.J.Vialls and H.Burton.  Hine became Vice-President of the Royal Institute in 1887 and was annually re-elected until his death.  Friends suggested he never became President due to his modesty, and that this was also why he never had an exhibition devoted entirely to him in his lifetime.  In 1896 The Fine Art Society held an exhibition The South Downs by the late H. G. Hine, V.P.R.I. and in 1905 Leicester Galleries  exhibited H. G. Hine, V. P. R. I.

Hine died of bronchitis in 1895, following influenza.  He is recorded as having been able to wield his brush right until the last.  In 1890, Tom Taylor of The Times wrote of Hine's view of Fittleworth Common " its grave and solemn dignity, in the beauty of its colour and line, and in the subtle way in which it renders the atmosphere of Southern England, this Sussex drawing is a masterpiece.  A man who can do this at seventy-nine is surely a great artist."

The tributes following his death showed that Hine would also be remembered for his kind heart and his sense of humour.  Hine regularly helped artists less fortunate than himself, and was well known as a great raconteur of his own stories of Brighton and London in the old days, and those of his father, recorded in Maude Egerton King's Round about a Brighton Coach Office.  Hine was also known jokingly to trace his ancestry back to a Captain Hine, a highwayman and Royalist executed by Cromwell.

Mary Ann Eliza Hine (nee Egerton)1817-1901
Hine's wife was a painter herself and she exhibited a figurative watercolour at the Dudley Gallery in 1873 (Graves, A Dictionary of Artists, 1901).

Possibly William Egerton Hine by Cecil Beaton, 1918, National Portrait Gallery
William Egerton Hine, courtesy of Harrow School

William Egerton Hine 1851-1926
' Eggie' Hine was Cecil Beaton' s art master at Harrow. An accomplished artist who exhibited landscapes at the Royal Academy and other London galleries, he revolutionised the teaching of art at Harrow and built its first art school. It was with his tutelage and support that Beaton's talent for drawing and painting blossomed and he began winning prizes and selling work.

According to the Christie's catalogue, William exhibited at the Royal Academy, Suffolk Street, the New Society and the Dudley Gallery.  According to Harrow School records, William studied at the School of Art , Nuremberg and under M. Gerome in Paris .  He was Inspector of Art to the London University Extension Board and an Exhibition of Watercolours by him was held at the Fine Art Society in London 1910-11.  He joined Harrow School as an Art teacher in 1892 and left in 1922.

Borrowdale at Sunset by William Egerton Hine, 1921

Of the three works at the Christie's auction, including the above, Studland Beach in 1909 is described as further transcribed "To my dear niece Katharine King on her 21st birthday from the painter".  The other work dated April 1895 A House at Lower Bertly, Witley, would appear to place his sister Maude Egerton King and Joseph King at Lower Bertly in 1895 with William visiting them.  It would appear therefore that the Kings were living in Lower Bertly (now called Lower Birtley) when they first moved to the area, and there have been some other references to this, but sometime before the 1901 census they moved a mile up the road to Upper Birtley.

A House at Lower Bertley, Witley by William Egerton Hine, 1895

When William died in 1926 he bequeathed Longdene Copse, Haslemere.  This would suggest he retired to Haslemere, and possibly was living with his sister Marion Hine or had been living in her old house.  Marion is recorded on the 1911 census as living in Silverbirches, Longdene Road, Haslemere.

A young Ethel Blount? A Girl Playing a Grand Piano in Drawing Room by Esther Hine, 1872
A young Ethel Blount?  A Girl Playing with a Doll in an Interior by Esther Hine, 1872

Esther Hine 1842-1872
Esther was a portrait painter, and became the Art Mistress at the North London Collegiate School for Girls.  The Christie's auction lists two pencil and watercolours A Girl Playing a Grand Piano in Drawing Room (1872), where the back is inscribed identifying the sitter as 'either Ethel (b.1864) or Katherine (b. 1859), and A Girl Playing with a Doll in an Interior, where the backboard identifies the room as being in the Hine's house.  Presumably both of these paintings were of the Hine household, and of Esther's sisters.  The latter painting is now in the Guarisco Gallery in Washington DC.  Both of these paintings appear to have been painted in the year of her death.

Ely Cathedral by Harry T. Hine

Harry T. Hine 1845-1941
There were four of Harry's pencil and watercolour works in the Christie's sale.  What is somewhat strange is Christie's describing Harry as being the "Art Master at Harrow between 1892 until 1932", when it would appear that his brother William was the Art Master there not Harry.  The works in the auction were Lincoln Cathedral at Sunset, Ely Cathedral, Durham Cathedral and Bamborough Castle, Early Morning.

Edith Hine 
Within some of the lots are works by Edith Hine, who is referred to as one of Henry George Hine's daughters.  Works produced by her include A Pastel of a Garden Near a Tudor Style House (August 1916) and a watercolour of Mrs H.G.Hine in a doorway, reading.

Christopher Norris
The Christie's auction was from the collection of the late Christopher Norris.  Norris was born in Haslemere in 1907.  His mother was Mellicent Oakes who was a good friend of Maude Egerton King.  Her husband was Major S. L. Norris, R.E.  Greville MacDonald recalls in a letter to his mother about meeting Mellicent in November 1899 "I had a happy day at Birtly.  Maude's girlfriend, only 15, Melcie Oakes, was there: such a wonderful gentle personality.  She can lie down in the woods and call the birds and they come to her!  She worships Father, and seems to have, though little more than a child, an awareness of magical on-goings.  Her mother, Maude tells me, is almost superhuman in her deep perceptions of spiritual happenings, extraordinarily gifted in second sight." (MacDonald, 1932, Reminiscences of a Specialist, London, George Allen and Unwin).  Melcie is described as working on The Vineyard with Maude Egerton King, and becoming life-long friends.  Their families remained close, and Katharine King became godmother to Christopher Norris' younger daughter Tessa.

It was through Maude that Norris became acquainted with H.G.Hine's work, where he built up an extensive collection.  A number of the works were bequeathed to him from the Kings or the Hine family.  

The works - more information

  • A large number of the works had been owned by William Egerton Hine.  
  • Fisherfolk on the Shore near a beached Merchantboat came from Gertrude Hine (1951)
  • A Faggot Gatherer and another Figure in Cowdray Park (?) was from Gertrude Hine.  Cowdray Park being the closest place to Haslemere from Hine's pictures.  Christie's note that "Cowdray Park was a favourite subject for the artist and provided endless inspiration.  Seven views of the park trees and church were exhibited at the Institute between 1878 and 1886."
  • A Fishing Fleet in a Calm (1881) went from Ethel Hine to Greville MacDonald
  • Fishermen on Beachy Head, Sunset (1893) went from Joseph King to his second wife, Helena King then to Norris in 1977, and was originally bought for 100 guineas
  • Joseph King had owned the two London pictures - A Figure Crossing a Back London Street, Early Morning, Winter (1887), which is thought to be in Hampstead where Hine was living at the time, and A Fire in Drury Lane by the Cock and Magpie (1887)
  • Portrait of the Artist's Mother went from Maude Egerton King to her daughter Katharine King and then to Norris
  • A Sluice Mill, Pevensey Marshes was sold to Joseph King in 1913 for 5 guineas and given to Mellicent Norris as a gift from Maude Egerton King

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