Highlights of Hampshire's Collections

Most paintings in the collections of Portsmouth Museums and Records Service are in store. Virtually all the fine art works were lost in the bombing in 1941, and after the war it was decided to collect post war paintings in the area of "English Taste". Through an appeal, individuals and organisations donated items to rebuild Portsmouth's collections. These included works by Walter Sickert and his circle, donated through the Sickert Trust, and works by W. B. Ranken, given by Mrs Ernest Thesiger.

National art movements are now represented, as well as some international practitioners who had strong influences on British art. Artists from the St Ives School include Wilhemina Barnes-Graham, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Winifred Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Brian Wynter; and there are good examples by the Bloomsbury Group.

Works by artists associated with the Portsmouth area have been acquired wherever possible. These include paintings by the Cole family – George, George Vicat and Rex. There are 300 pictures by Benjamin Haughton, an accomplished local artist, who depicted rural landscapes and life at the turn of the early 20th century. These were bequeathed by his daughter. Also represented are students and tutors at the University of Portsmouth and its predecessor bodies, such as Derek Boshier, Jessie Brown, Geoff Catlow, John Eatwell, Alan Jefferson, Kevin O'Connor and Garrick Palmer. Bequests from artists Ada Dumas and Eleanor Spyers, who lived locally, include their own work and internationally acclaimed artists Paul Bril, Frances Hodgkins and Stanley Spencer, amongst others.

The Contemporary Art Society Presentation Scheme has added oils by Justin Knowles, William Scott and Gary Wragg. Work by notable artists such as Maerten Van der Hulst,, Adam Elsheimer and Guido Cagnacci has been donated through the Art Fund.

Paintings in the Local History collection focus on marine and topographical pictures and portraits of local people. There are representations of the harbour and shipping between 1800 and 1900 by artists such as Thomas Luny, W. A. Knell and W. L. Wyllie, as well as contemporary maritime artists. H. J.Morgan’s oils depict the career of a particular naval officer, Admiral Giffard, and capture the dramatic changes taking place in ship technology. A glimpse into another naval career is gained through the naive paintings by Colour Sergeant W. Joy. His HMS Devastation was on a mission to find the Indian murderers of two white men, as well as exercising a little 'Gunboat diplomacy'!

Edward King, a local artist and patient in St James' mental hospital, was commissioned by the city's mayor, Sir Denis Daley, to record the destruction suffered during the severe air raids of 1940 and 1941. He also painted the environs of St James' after the war.

The Arthur Conan Doyle Richard Lancelyn Green Bequest includes images relating to Conan Doyle and his famous creation, Sherlock Holmes.

Paintings in the Military History collection show events in the 1944 Normandy Landings and the Battle of Normandy. Others represent Portsmouth's military past, and local fortifications including Southsea Castle.

The Schools Loan Collection provides a valuable outreach tool to support the national curriculum and as a source of inspiration. The paintings are mostly by modern and contemporary British artists, many of whom have a connection with South East Hampshire and West Sussex.

The Museum stands alongside HMS Victory, in the heart of the old Royal Dockyard at Portsmouth, and houses one of the most important collections of Nelson portraits in the country, with works by Hoppner, Abbott, Devis, Lucy and de Koster. The vivid study by the Austrian court portraitist Heinrich Füger is now generally agreed to be one of the best likenesses.

The collection includes other naval portraits, ranging from Thomas Hudson’s magnificent study of Admiral Sir George Pocock, resplendent in the First Naval Officer’s uniform (1749), to studies of ordinary sailors, and members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, dating from World War II.

The artist most closely associated with the Museum is W.L. Wyllie, who was fascinated with HMS Victory. He actively raised funds for its restoration and painted many pictures recording it, including The Main Yard of Victory being crossed. Wyllie’s masterpiece, the Panorama of the Battle of Trafalgar, painted in 1929, is a gigantic canvas (measuring 42 × 12 feet). It is displayed in the special annexe built to Wyllie’s own design to house it.

Leading modern marine artists represented include Geoff Hunt (President Royal Society of Marine Artists), William Bishop, Rex Phillips and Roger Fisher.

In the 1980s, a large set of paintings depicting key battles in World War II were commissioned by former RSMA President, David Cobb. Other works by ordinary sailors, although often quite crude, vividly capture the essence of life at sea.

ROYAL MARINES MUSEUM, Eastney, Portsmouth
The Museum is housed in the Royal Marine Artillery Barracks and most of the paintings are on permanent view, hanging in the magnificent Officers’ Mess. Many pictures have stories to tell. A very large and imposing painting of Queen Victoria carries the inscription ‘Copied from the original of H Von Angeli by Herman G Herkomer, 1887’. Apparently Queen Victoria instructed that this inscription should be added since, upon comparison, it was found that the copy was a better likeness than the original!

James Northcote’s equestrian portrait of George III is one of only two known to exist. Recently the Museum acquired, from an auction of works of art belonging to Elton John, a second Northcote portrait: Lt James Dyer of the Marines, 1780/1.

The portrait of Major F W Lumsden VC, DSO of the Royal Marine Artillery is one of a pair commissioned by the Mess from H. Donald Smith in 1920. Lumsden had extraordinary leadership qualities and courage. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order (on four occasions) and was appointed Commander of the Bath. He was also four times mentioned in Despatches. This painting links well to the series of oil portraits of all Royal Marines who have been awarded the Victoria Cross.

The collection includes battle scenes, ceremonies, ships and exploration in the 18th to 20th centuries. War artists, such as Leslie Cole are represented. Some serving officers and men of the Marines and Royal Marines also sketched, drew and painted what they saw and experienced, with varying degrees of talent. These works provide fascinating snapshots into their lives.

Oil paintings represent Hampshire’s rich and varied landscape, its coastline, creeks and estuaries; its man-made ports and harbours that are home to naval and merchant shipping. W. Shayer’s ‘Gypsy encampment in the New Forest’ is a sentimental representation of a travelling family. The works of WH Allen, Director of Farnham College of Arts, record a vanishing way of life on the Surrey/Hampshire border between the two World Wars.

Martin Snape, born in Gosport in 1852, recorded Gosport, Portsmouth and the local coastline, in paintings such as, ‘The Hard, Gosport, in the evening’.

Ambrose Louis Garneray’s ‘Prison Hulks in Portsmouth Harbour’ contrasts with Edwin Weedon’s ‘Launch of the Royal Sovereign’ at Portsmouth, a more uplifting representation of the local coast and its shipping.

Petersfield was, for many years, the hub of a small artistic community. One of these painters, George Marston, was the artist on Shackleton’s 1915 expedition to the Antarctic. He painted ‘Self Portrait’ and the ‘View of Antarctica’.

Frederick Bowker a local solicitor acted for the Tichborne family in the 19th century in the Tichborne Trials. These concerned Roger Tichborne, supposedly lost at sea, and the appearance of a man from the Australian Outback who claimed to be the missing heir.

One of the longest cases in British legal history, it had huge social and political implications. The ‘Tichborne Criminal Trial’, by Frederick Sargent, shows the claimant when he was found guilty and sentenced to 14 years in prison. The problems of identity theft today make the painting, and the Tichborne Trials, hugely relevant and they attract interest from the UK and overseas.

Hampshire County Council began making this collection 20 years ago. It includes important oils by significant British artists: local scenes by Annabel Gault, skyscapes by Brendan Neiland, a Hampshire field by Robert Butler and two smaller works by David Morgan and David Atkins.

The works are located in County Council Offices to enhance the working environment for staff and visitors. A new gallery in The Winchester Discovery Centre will feature specially curated shows for wider public enjoyment.

The current collecting policy is to invest locally, in Hampshire’s rich pool of artists, to raise the profile and awareness of locally based talent. Artists include Kathy Ramsay-Carr, Nick Andrew, Peter Joyce, Christine Hughes and Margaret McLellan, Masako Tobita and Andy Waite.

Many of the paintings are views of Winchester and the surrounding district, the earliest being a view of the city from the south west in 1759, with an encampment of Hessian troops.

Portraits include: Charles I and Charles II, local MPs, mayors, local gentry, civic dignitaries, city benefactors and patrons. The earliest portrait is of Ralph Lamb, a cousin of the then Mayor of Winchester, probably painted to commemorate his attendance at the wedding, in Winchester, of Queen Mary and King Philip. Lamb was a benefactor of St. John’s Hospital, a local alms charity. Nationally known artists represented in the collection include Peter Lely, Fred Appleyard, John Opie, George Arnald, William Sidney Cooper and Frank Salisbury.

The Museums Service headquarters houses most of the collection, where paintings can be viewed by appointment. Other pictures hang in Winchester Guildhall and the Mayor’s official residence, Abbey House, where each year a selection are put on public exhibition. There will also soon be an exhibition space in the new Discovery Centre.

HorsePower tells the story of an English cavalry regiment from 1715 to the present day, firstly on horses but for the last seventy five years in armoured cars and tanks.

The Scouts by W. B. Wollen portrays two Tenth Hussars during the Peninsula War, observing from the cover of trees the approach of a French mounted patrol. Although painted long after the event, it captures the spirit of the cavalry soldier on reconnaissance.

Portraits of important generals include General Douglas, who commanded the Eleventh Hussars at the Charge of the Light Brigade, and NCOs such as Sergeant Major Kilvert, who also rode in that charge. Field Marshall Viscount Byng of Vymy painted by Philip de Laszlo served in every rank from 1883 to 1919 and was first in action with the Tenth Hussars at El Teb in 1884. This painting is on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.

The scenery of South Africa during the Boer War is brought to life in The Race for the Kopje by
G. D. Giles who also who painted The Charge at El Teb1884, having been present himself.

The Girls We Left Behind, by Thomas Jones Barker, is the touching scene of a mounted troop of Eleventh Hussars leaving an English village on their departure for India in 1866.

More recent paintings include the Tenth Hussars Guidon Parade, Auld Lang Syne, and March Past by Joan Wanklyne, as well as the Eleventh Hussars Guidon Parade in 1965, entitled Presentation of the Guidon to HM The Queen Mother by Terence Cuneo.

The Museum owns handsome portraits of regimental figures, some of national renown, and scenes of the Regiment and its antecedents in action. A splendid painting by an unknown artist shows Major General Coote Manningham, revered by the Regiment as the founder of The Rifle Brigade in 1800. Several of the Regiment’s commanders at the Battle of Waterloo are represented, such as John Colborne, later Field Marshal Lord Seaton, who administered the decisive flanking attack that routed the French Imperial Guard and ensured Allied Victory. There are also five splendid battle scenes by T. Baines (1820–1875) showing engagements in which the 1st Battalion, The Rifle Brigade, took part during the war in South Africa in 1852.

Britain has a unique relationship with Nepal, our ‘oldest ally’ in Asia. The Gurkha Museum covers Gurkha military history from 1815 to the present day.

Crossing the Tigris, Mesopotamia, 23 February 1917 shows the First Battalion Second King Edward’s Own Gurkha Rifles being rowed across the river by men of the First/Forth Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment. This was painted circa 1960 by Lionel Edwards.

Terence Cuneo’s painting ‘The Action at Labis’ depicts the Tenth Gurkha Rifles on operations in 1964 against Indonesian parachute troops in Western Malaysia. It is a tribute to the Company Commander, Major Richard Haddow, who was killed in the encounter.

Chawton Cottage, now Jane Austen's House Museum, was home to the writer in later life, when she wrote and revised almost all of her major work.

The circumstances in which Jane Austen (1775-1817) came to live in Chawton have close links with the oil paintings on display in the house today. Her brother Edward was adopted into the Knight family. Thomas Knight, a wealthy distant relation had left properties in Kent and Hampshire to Edward, who offered this modest home on his Chawton estate to his widowed mother and his two unmarried sisters, Cassandra and Jane.

The paintings all relate to Edward (Austen) Knight and his family. Edward is revealed in considerable splendour in a large, full length portrait by an unknown artist to celebrate his completion of the Grand Tour. In powdered wig and gold breeches he stands amid classical ruins, very much the young man of property. A second portrait of Edward depicts him in his early teens, possibly around the time of his "adoption" by the Knight family.

Edward’s eldest daughter, Fanny Knight, is represented in an oval oil painting when in middle age. A favourite niece of Jane Austen, "almost another sister", she was the eldest of 11 children. Sadly, in older age, she recalled her famous aunt with more condescension than affection.

This Library is one of the world’s leading centres for studying the lives and work of women writing in English, 1600-1830. Writings include novels, poetry, drama, published letters, memoirs, history, travel, medicine, botany, cookery and educational works, advice manuals and children’s literature.

The history of Chawton House itself is interwoven with the family story of Jane Austen, as the Library also houses the Knight Collection, a fascinating example of a private country house library put together in the 18th and 19th centuries. Owned by Edward, Jane Austen’s brother, it was a library known and used by Jane herself.

The Knight Collection of paintings comprises family portraits and landscapes, as well as very interesting Austen-related pieces. The oils in the Library Collection focus on notable women, including Amelia Opie (poet and novelist) by her husband John Opie, Mary Robinson (actress, poet and novelist) by John Hoppner, Catherine Macaulay (historian) by Joseph Wright of Derby, George Sand (novelist) by FJB Bizard and Kitty Fisher (famous courtesan and aspiring actress) attributed to Francis Coates.

British submarines and their heroic crews have not entered the consciousness of the general public to the extent of the better known U-boats. This Museum houses artefacts and pictures, all of which hold surprising social interest. The paintings show the evolution of the submarine

Professional artists such as Terence Cuneo, G.F. Bradshaw and Johne Makin are represented, and also submariners with artistic flare who have captured life on board. The Launch of HMS Dreadnought by Terence Cuneo shows the sheer size of the first nuclear submarine, as hundreds crowd to see her with the Royal Family looking on - a sharp contrast to its earliest predecessor the Holland class, seen in the painting Holland3.

Some of the most important events in submarine history are represented. ‘Well Done E9’ portrays the first sinking of a ship by a British submarine. Just days after the loss of the first British warship to a U-boat in 1914, HMS E9 commanded by Lieutenant Max Horton sank the German light cruiser Hela. This picture, an amateur work, was probably painted close to the event.

The portrait of Lieutenant Commander MD Wanklyn VC, DSO commemorates the Royal Navy's most successful submarine commander. As CO of HMS Upholder, Wanklyn sank a record tonnage of enemy shipping from 1940-42. Tragically, in April 1942 Upholder was lost with all hands, on her last patrol before returning to Britain. The Admiralty took the very unusual step of publishing a special communiqué praising Upholder and her crew: "The ship and company are gone, but the example and the inspiration remain". This portrait was commissioned by the submarine officers of the Ward Room of HMS Dolphin the year after Wanklyn’s death.

Great naval battles and warships have always been one of the romantic themes for painters. Weapons, ammunition, and the people who made them, are less popular with artists. The collection includes works in oils and acrylics by Silas Ellis and N. H. Dale. They show the armament vessels and the makers and designers of naval armaments. The Museum owes a debt to the few artists who decided to illustrate this little-known and less glamorous side of war.

The collection of paintings depicts the heroism of the soldiers that went to war by air.

Portraits include aircraft designers and engineers of the early days of flying:Tommy Sopwith, Sir Richard Fairey, Charles Rolls, Sir Sefton Branckner and Harry Hawker.

Many tributes have been made to the Glider Pilot Regiment and the exciting exploits of the Coup de Main onto the bridge over the Caen Canal on D-Day 6 June 1944. Alan Richards captures the moment of the first glider, landing alongside the bridge, under the control of SSGT Wallwork.

Other paintings show the action-packed Landing Zones at Arnhem, and the Cold War in the fields of West Germany, with an Army Air Corps Gazelle in support of a Main Battle Tank. There is also a fine depiction of an air battle over Poole Harbour in 1940 by Edmund Miller.

Gilbert White (1720 – 93) was the naturalist famous for The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, and for discovering the migration of birds.

Robert Washington Oates set up a joint Gilbert White and Oates Memorial Trust to run White’s house as a museum. It commemorates both Gilbert White and the Oates family under the overall theme of “Exploring the Natural World”. Most of the paintings are from the Oates family collection, about a third relate to the White family or Selborne.

The White family paintings are displayed in room settings in the part of the house in which Gilbert White lived. The Oates family portraits are displayed in the Victorian part of the house.
These include Captain Lawrence Oates, soldier and explorer, who took part in Scott’s 1911 Terra Nova expedition. His uncle, Frank Oates, also an explorer and naturalist famous for this collection of rare birds from South America, is represented.

This collection includes portraits of former Chaplain-Generals.

Terence Cuneo’s The Presentation of the VC to the Reverend Theodore Bayley Hardy, VC DSO MC by HM King George V (1966) was commissioned by the Chaplain-General and chaplains of the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department. Hardy was commended for: "most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on many occasions…he has, by his fearlessness, devotion to men of his battalion, and quiet unobtrusive manner, won the respect and admiration of the whole division."

Much original material has survived and nothing pre-dates 1958, when the first hovercraft were made. Bagley’s wonderfully detailed oils of craft in operation are highly sought after. Also fascinating are the impressions, by a number of artists, of what they imagined hovercraft would be in the future.