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There were several important and skilled local artists, and examples of their work are in the gallery (details below):
Charles Low was born in Hungerford in 1841. His parents Charles and Elizabeth Low lived at 12 Bridge Street between 1840 and 1881. Charles snr was a plumber and glazier, and the business was taken over by their other son Frederick Low until c1914. Many paintings by Charles Low, RBA are held in private hands in Hungerford.
Charles Low was a notable artist, especially of water-colours, and 17 of his paintings were exhibited in the Royal Academy between 1885 and 1902.
- June 1890 No 1383 "Pansies"
- June 1891 No 1340 "On Mousehill Downs"
- June 1893 No 1187 "In the Orchard"
- July 1894 No 976 "A Wiltshire Farm".
Other water-colours include:
- 1885 No 601 "Cinerarieas"
- 1891 No 1840 "Mousehole Downs"
- 1893 No 1187 "In the Orchard"
He was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1897, and is therefore correctly styled RBA.
Many paintings by Charles Low are held in private hands in Hungerford.
The foundation stone of the new 1871 Town Hall and Corn Exchange had been laid by Mr Cherry (of Denford Park).
After his death in 1887 a memorial portrait was presented by subscribers to the County in the Grand Jury Room, Assize Court, reading. A copy of the portrait was made, paid for by Miss Cherry, who presented it to the town. It is the work of Charles Low. The frame bears the inscription "George Charles Cherry, Esquire. Presented to the Town of Hungerford by RMC, 1889". It still hangs in the Hungerford Town Hall.
[With thanks to P. Williams who contacted the Virtual Museum with updated information, and to Derek Styles for sending further images of Low paintings]
The Photo Gallery includes a delightful watercolour of the old Town Hall, Hungerford, painted by George Shepherd in 1829.
Follow this link for more on Town Halls.
Paul Nash (11 May 1889 - 11 Jul 1946), the British surrealist painter and war artist, painted a watercolour study of Hungerford in 1943. A monochrome print of this (shown in the Photo Gallery) was published in a collection of his works in 1948, shortly after his death.
John "Tom" Simson:
In the Corn Exchange are three paintings (shown in the Photo Gallery) by the local artist John Adhemar "Tom" Simson. They were purchased by the Town & Manor of Hungerford in 1984. Each depicts an episode of great significance to the history of Hungerford.
Tom Simson pointed out that all the scenes depicted are fictional, and adds the details which may add to your enjoyment of the paintings:
The costumes are taken from three main sources:
- "Le Costume chez les Peuples Anciens et Modernes" by Fr Hottenroth, published in Paris.
- Various illustrated manuscripts of the 14th century in the British Museum, London and the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
- In the case of the Rennie picture, from contemporary paintings of the late 18th century.
1. "St Lawrence offering the poor and needy to the Church instead of gold". The cloisters in the St Lawrence picture are in the small French town of St Justin just south east of Roquefort in Gascony. These were used simply for their attractive colour and form.
2. "John of Gaunt presenting his charter to the Town and Manor of Hungerford". John of Gaunt has just returned from a hunt and is shown on Hungerford Down near the present gate to the Common.
3. "John Rennie being welcomed by the Constable of Hungerford at the opening of the Kennet and Avon Canal from Kintbury to Hungerford"
Follow this for more on John "Tom" Simson.
- Parish Magazine, Sep 1889, Jun 1890, Jun 1891, Jun 1893, Jul 1894.