Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cranbrook Colony - Not Forgotten by George Bernard O'Neill

Oil on Canvas, 1882

The Cranbrook Colony was a group of artists who settled in Cranbrook, Kent from 1854 onwards and were inspired by seventeenth century Dutch and Flemish painters.

The group started with the painter Frederick Daniel Hardy who liked the countryside around Cranbrook and settled there in 1854. He was joined there after three years by his mentor, Thomas Webster, their studio being an old house in the High Street, of which Hardy occupied the basement.

Other artists who soon joined them were Frederick Hardy's brother George Hardy, John Callcott Horsley, and George Bernard O'Neill (who married Horsley’s cousin Emma Callcott), with George Henry Boughton and Augustus Mulready frequently visiting.

Their works were mainly romanticized views of the countryside and sentimental images of bucolic simplicity which proved extremely saleable to the industrialists of the Midlands.

"The Cranbrook style was enormously popular, and had many imitators," including William Henry Knight; its artists continued a tradition "of small old-masterish pictures until the end of the century."


[The Jewel Basket - O'Neill]

[John Calcott Horsley. [Christmas Card]. "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You." 82 x 130 mm. [London: J. C. Horsley. 1843]]

['The Rival Performers', John Calcott Horsley, 1839]

[The Chimney Sweep by Frederick Daniel Hardy]


Dolls from the Attic said...

These are beautiful paintings! They do remind me of the Dutch Masters style. I love "The Rival",although the lady is definitely Victorian, she wears that unmistakeable hairstyle favored by the Queen.

Dolls from the Attic said...

To add to my comment on "The Rival"...It seems there is a bit of a discrepancy on the era it portrays. The interior of the room, including furnishings, like the instruments, and the couple's attire, is more 18th century. But the lady's hairstyle is most certain Victorian...Hmmmm

Hermes said...


the Victorians often depicted the 18th C - which they saw as a sort of golden era - but often made the people Victorians in fancy dress. Shakespeare plays were usually done the same way. But well spotted.