The history portal for Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England
A collection of historic 19th and 20th century paintings of Shoreham many of which are still held by local collectors. Views are revealed that inspired the artists then as well as a taste of things as they once were.
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Believed to be the work of George Cattermole (1800 – 1868) a member of the Royal Watercolour Society who later moved on to oils as his medium. He was awarded a first class gold medal at the Paris Exhibtion in 1855 as well as enjoying professional honours in Amsterdam and Belgium.
Most of his work was illustrating for publications such as ‘The Waverley Novels’ and others. A good friend of Charles Dickens he collaborated on illustrations for ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ and ‘Barnaby Rudge.’
This particular painting, a watercolour, was drawn on or near the then four year old suspension bridge. It is of particular interest to local historians as it is probably one of the most distinct and architecturally accurate illustrations of Shoreham buildings of the period and clearly reflects Cattermole’s earlier training as an architectural and topographical draughtsman. (Descriptions have been added to show buildings of particular interest)
This watercolour was painted by John Wright Oakes, ARA (1820 p-1887) a Liverpool landscape artist who began exhibiting his work in 1839 and continued on to the Royal Academy from 1848 to 1888. His paintings are naturalistic although he often attempted Turneresque effects of light and sky.
St.Nicolas church and the Toll Bridge are prominent in this painting and beneath the former can just be seen part of the Red Lion Inn and the toll keeper’s cottage. To the left are the trees and fields where the edge of the airfield is now and the banks on both sides of the river appear to be in their more natural state before the earth ‘walls’ of later years were thrown up to protect the surrounding land from flooding. To the right are cottages that no longer exist and, even allowing for artistic licence, the bridge itself is showing its original type of 18th century construction.
With a little difficulty it is just possible to make out the windmill on Mill Hill. Unfortunately for purists, Oakes has applied a Turneresque influence to this that gives it an almost ethereal look but leaves it indistinct and easily missed by the viewer.
Alfred Bennett (fl. 1861 – 1916) was a landscape painter who exhibited at the Royal Academy, the British Institution and the Society of British Artists. He lived in London but later moved to Knebworth in Hertfordshire.
As it’s title suggests this picture looks from the River Adur’s south bank where the ferry once plied northwards towards the town (the ferry’s route normally took passengers from this point diagonally across towards the left side of the ship on the stocks to the opposite bank at the bottom of East Street). The ship is probably not a new vessel as the last to be built at Shoreham was the Osman Pasha by Dyer & Son in 1878, nine years before the painting so was probably being repaired or overhauled. The timbered wharf seen immediately opposite was then Dyer’s shipyard but is now the Sussex Yacht Club site. From the right side of the moored ship across the front of the church are the backs of the buildings in East Street and just under the extreme right of the church can be seen the top half of the National School which now houses St.Mary’s Church Hall. Through the gap in the timbered wharf are the easternmost of four coastguard cottages that once stood in the area now occupied by a garage and in the far distance the Mill Hill windmill can just be made out.
Artist Frederick James Aldridge (1849 – 1933) needs little introduction to those interested in Shoreham’s local art. He was a marine artist, chiefly in watercolour and exhibited at the principal London galleries from 1880 onwards. He lived in Worthing for many years and was associated with the firm of fine art dealers ‘Aldridges’ of Worthing.
The painting shows a sailing barge on the left, probably laden with shingle dredged from the harbour bar proceeding upstream. A little further on in mid stream is an oyster ketch and on the extreme right is moored a top-sail schooner engaged in the coastal trade. The townscape includes the well known landmark of the brewery chimney at the western end of what is now Coronation Green and, of course, St.Mary’s church.
These two charming scenes were painted by local artist Richard Steers during the 1960’s/70’s. By his own admission some of the buildings shown are not totally accurate in scale but without doubt they provide a wonderful flavour of how the town looked then.
His full name was Brooking Alfred Wrankmore Harrison (he was descended from the Wrankmore and Butler families of Shoreham) and lived in Shoreham for many years. He painted many Sussex scenes and exhibited his work at the R.B.A. in London, Brighton Art Club and Society of Sussex Artists. Some 200 of his paintings survived him and many still remain in Shoreham.
NB The two windmills in the middle distance must be the Copperas Gap mill (c.1790’s – 1870) and Fishersgate cement mill (c. 1842 – 1890’s) – one at the north end of Mill Road and the other in Mill Field Lane that became George Street. Compare this with Budgen’s 1797 map that shows the Coppera Gap mill with the Southwick and Old Shoreham (Mill Hill) mills. The mill in the far distance is probably at Southwick. The one at Old Shoreham sat far higher up on the hill wheras Southwick mill was on rising ground as seems to be the mill in the painting. There is a smoking brick kiln just before the windmills – an industry that was carried out elsewhere in Portslade particularly at the field that became Victoria recreation ground. The buildings on the far right are thought to be Red House Farm that stood between Boundary (or Station) Road and Gordon Road. The artist looks to have been at a point between today’s Boundary Road and Hove lagoon. (R.Bateman)
The view is looking south from the hill above Hangleton Manor which can be seen in the near distance. It would seem the artist worked from a point near Hangleton Green, just below St. Helen’s church. Use the magnified image to fully enjoy the quality of this painting. Notice also the far, middle distance where the southern part of Portslade including Aldrington can be seen with the spire of St.Leonards on the left and the Copperas Gap windmill on the right. A blissfully rural scene in 1904 that is now completely covered by housing.
Little is known of the artist Sidney Goodwin but if current research brings any information to light it will be included here. Dimensions 43″ x 31″ approx. Photograph copyright Paul Everest.
Now part of a popular walk and a view that can still be enjoyed this painting was completed only a few years before the mill was demolished in 1907 – if you look closely even in 1902 the sails of the mill are fairly dilapidated. The chalk quarry can be seen to the front of the mill and the towers of Old and New Shoreham churches are visible as is the old suspension bridge. Painted by Sidney Pike who exhibited his paintings from 1880 to 1907 – we are having difficulty trying to discover more about the artist and if anyone has any information we would be grateful to know of it.
R. H. Nibbs (1816–1893) was an English painter and book illustrator who specialised in marine art, born in Brighton, Sussex and educated at a school in Worthing (run by the father of watercolourist Henry Tidey). He lived in Brighton throughout his life. Nibbs initially trained as a musician and became a professional cellist with the Theatre Royal orchestra. However, a lifelong love of art combined with a natural talent for detailed observation led him to become a self-taught painter – in both oils and watercolour – particularly of marine subjects. In 1840 a substantial inheritance allowed him to devote himself full-time to art.
His marine art depicts scenes mainly off the coast of his native Sussex, France and Holland – though he also drew buildings and landscapes. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and other institutions. (from Wikipedia)
Harrison’s recorded year on the painting below (B85) is 1873 therefore looks to be realistic apart from perhaps his age at the time. Harrison (full name Brooking Alfred Wrankmore Harrison and descended from a long line of Shoreham families) was baptised in 1860 so this is a very early example of his work. Unless the birth year is incorrect he was only thirteen. However, his death is shown at the age of 69 in 1930 so that seems to confirm his birth year as accurate. As it happens his painting at such a young age would have been quite possible – Millaise for example. albeit a much more celebrated artist, was only nine when he won a silver medal for his work at art school and eleven when he entered the Royal Academy School of Art.
The last three large ships to be built built at Shoreham were the Mizpah 1874, Britannia 1877 and Osman Pasha 1878. As far as is known all three were built at the old shipyard not at Dyer’s new ‘patent’ slipway that seems to have only ever been used for ship repairs.
The painting doesn’t show the Methodist church in the High Street – that was built in 1879.. The Roman Catholic bell tower also doesn’t appear to be shown – that church was built, consecrated and opened in 1875. Could he have missed including them? Unlikely. His eye for detail was such that he even identified the spire that is shown in the distance of the photo of the same view.