There have been many artists working in our area and many lived locally; from the Roman sculpture found recently, the Agincourt knight and his wife’s brass memorial at St Mary’s Stopham, the medieval wall paintings at Ivy House, to the artists working today.
Here are some of the artists and places associated with them from the past. Please let us know if there is more local information to add or corrections to make. The information will be stored in the Fittleworth Archive Resource (contact via the Parish Clerk) for the village to share. Paintings from some of these artists can be seen at https://fittleworth.wordpress.com/art/ :-
H Arnold 1872-1915; there is a painting at The Swan Inn, Fittleworth; views of the Downs, cottage scenes.
Madeleine Atkins;c c1905-? local painter who discovered her ability as a watercolourist late in life – work chosen for Mall Gallery when 100 years old.
William Wilfred Ball 1853-1917; a landscape and marine painter and etcher, who lived in Putney, then Lymington. Later he travelled to Holland and eventually died in Khatoum, He was a prolific artist who painted a number of local Fittleworth views and illustrated books.
Berenger Benger 1868-1935; lived for some time at The Grange, Hesworth Lane. His paintings include ‘In the Grange Garden’ painted while he lived there. Painted mainly watercolours.
The Grange also has earlier interesting links with art; Conrad and Effie Herapath rented it for several (mainly) Summers in the 1880s and 90s. Effie was artistic herself and her father was the sculptor Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm (sculptor; see the next entry). Conrad’s sister was Marion Sambourne, whose husband was ‘First Cartoonist’ at Punch magazine, Linley Sambourne. Their home can be visited at 18, Stafford Terrace; Marion has chronicled detailed accounts of life both there and in their many visits to Fittleworth.
Alfred Bennett 1861-1923 Bennett was a landscape painter and etcher, paintidng in watercolour and oil. He painted a variety of landscapes; there are a number in West Sussex, including ‘Fittleworth Common, West Sussex, Chanctonbury Ring in distance’ painted in 1873. Some of his watercolours are in Brighton Museum.dc
Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm 1834-1890 Boehm’s daughter rented The Grange during the 1880/90s. He was the sculptor of the Wellington statue at Hyde Park Corner, the Victoria Jubilee coins and many other sculptures. Ref. The Grange notes at the Fittleworth History Archive Resource.
Waltor Wallor Caffyn 1845-1898; mainly oils, including painting ‘On the River Rother Fittleworth’
H E Cheeseman; A painting at The Swan Inn
George Cole 1810-1883; grandfather of Rex Vicat Cole, born in Portsmouth and largely a landscape and animal painter. He was a member of the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA). His paintings included ‘Landscape near Pulborough’ and other local views.
George Vicat Cole 1833-1893; father of Rex Vicat Cole. Paintings including landscapes of the Downs. Mrs Vicat Cole is regularly mentioned in the Sambourne Diaries (the Kensington household whose family rented the Grange). George Vicat Cole painted landscapes naturalistically, with an atmospheric use of light and shade. He stayed at The Swan Inn.
Rex Vicat Cole 1870-1940; Lived at Brinkwells in Bedham Lane in early 1900s. Edward Elgar the composer, rented Brinkwells from Rex Vicat Cole. They both used the studio (thought to have been moved later to become The Studio in Wakestone Lane, Bedham). Rex Vicat Cole made many studies of trees, as well as paintings of local scenes. He founded a School of Painting with colleague Byam Shaw and ran Art courses at the Old Rectory Fittleworth.
George Constable 1792-1878; Arundel brewer and artist friend of John Constable, who stayed with him. He was mainly a landscape painter and has work at the Tate Gallery – as well as in The Swan Inn.
John Constable RA 1776-1837; Major landscape painter, he was born in Suffolk but moved to London and travelled around the country, living at one point in Brighton and produced many pieces of work while he was in the Petworth area. Constable painted a delicate watercolour of Fittleworth Mill, and sketched a number of locations in the village; mainly around the river Rother, on Hesworth Common and around St Mary’s church. (Another John Constable artist and family is mentioned in the Sambourne diaries, fifty years later, visiting The Grange). Constable collected local coloured sands in bottles and asked his friend George Constable to collect samples to send him. His Fittleworth sketchbooks are at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
E Edward; a painting of trees at The Swan Inn.
C Farmer; a painting at the Swan Inn, of Stopham Bridge.
W H Finch 1900s; painted a number of country views including ‘Fittleworth Mill Approach’
John Foulger 1942-2007 Always interested in art, Foulger worked for The art gallery, Gladwell and co. and his paintings included ‘Elgar’s Cottage Brinkwells, Fittleworth’ (1994) and ‘Near Fittleworth’ (1980)
May Harding; One of the locally well-known Harding family, who owned Hardings Stores, ‘Grocers, Drapers and Bakers’ in Fittleworth. May was the oldest child, having to take on much of the responsibility for the other children when their mother died young. The existence of few other paintings of hers are known; a painting of St Mary’s church Fittleworth is at The Swan and relations know of a painting of fruit.
Henry George Hine 1811-1895; painted mainly coastal views at first, later working for Punch and The Illustrated London News. He later returned to landscape painting and work included ‘Hesworth Common’ and ‘View of Fittleworth Common’
Alfred Hitchens (1861 – 1942) Father of Ivon Hitchens, grandfather of local artist John Hitchens. Alfred was a landscape and portrait artist. He stayed at the Swan, Fittleworth and has worked locally, including a pastel of Hesworth Common.
Ivon Hitchens 1893-1979; Ivon Hitchens was part of the ‘London group’ in the 1930s. He lived in a caravan on Lavington Common after 1940, when his house was bombed. He used blocks of colour in his landscapes and painted a number of local views including the River Rother. Ivon was father of John Hitchens who still lives and works locally and grandfather of sculptor and artist Simon Hitchens.
Holland; A painting is at The Swan Inn
S F Knight; A painting is at The Swan Inn
William George Lewis 1882-1974; mainly a watercolourist, Lewis also used pen and ink. His paintings include Downs landscapes around Fitttleworth.
George Kruger-Gray CBE 1880-1943; During WWl Kruger Gray served with the Artists Unit of the camouflage unit of the Royal Engineers. He lived at Three Chimneys and was an official Designer to the Royal Mint. He designed many coins including those for other countries and commemorative coins. He was also a designer of heraldic items and an accomplished artist and craftsman in stained glass; there is a window with his name at St Mary’s Church Fittleworth.
Walter Stuart Lloyd 1875-1929 Painted many watercolour landscapes, including views of Arundel and has a painting at the Swan Inn.
Gwenda Morgan 1908-1991; a wood engraver, she lived in Petworth, but designed and engraved many local places including St Mary’s church, Fittleworth
R T Mumford 1895-1939; Exhibited regularly at the RA. One of his paintings is of Hesworth Lane looking from Cygnets towards the Swan. Both his son Geoffrey and granddaughter Jill Mumford paint and exhibit.
Sir David Murray; a view of Cygnets and Norwood Cottages ‘Fittleworth West Sussex’ is at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne. Murray was a Scottish artist who trained at the Glasgow School of Art.
W? Osborne 1859-1903?; A painting is at the Swan Inn. If by Walter Osborne, he was an Irish landscape and portrait painter who spent time painting in rural Sussex and was a member of the RHA, producing much successful work.
Ronald Ossory Dunlop 1894-1973 A prolific Irish painter of figurative and landscape art, who spent much of his life living in Barnham, near Chichester. He founded the Emotionist Group in 1923 and painted local scenes – mainly the Arun, rather than the Rother. The Tate has paintings by him and there is one at the Swan Inn.
Alfred? Oliver 1886-1921? A painting at the Swan Inn
Philip Hugh Padwick 1876-1958; Padwick was born in Horsham but lived in Fittleworth for a number of years and was a familiar figure locally, working first in his studio at his home, Corner Cottage (then called ‘Thatched Cottage’). He then had the building, now called ‘The Studio’ in Upper Street, built as another studio. His work looked back to the previous century, with dark, evocative landscapes. Later he had another studio at Tripp Hill. Please see the separate information sheets from Horsham Museum and an account from Gordon Goodyer (with grateful thanks to the Petworth Society Magazine).
Padwicks Field, off The Fleet, is named after him, according to Gordon Goodyer, as he had the garage there built on that site, along with a home for the proprietor. He was said to be a generous man.
L S Palmer; A painting of a forest, at the Swan Inn.
Frank Patterson 1871-1952 He lived at Billingshurst and was known for his many pen and ink sketches – including those of Fittleworth, most notably of The Mill.
C P Pretormow?; A painting at the Swan Inn
R Rackan; A painting is at the Swan Inn
St Mary’s Church; there are a number of paintings at the church, some unnamed but showing the church before the nave was rebuilt in 1871; lovely watercolours of the church and the Old Rectory. The Old Rectory was a centre for the Arts until the late 1900s. There is a large triptych of the Nativity, as well as a George lll Coat of Arms. Several windows are by CE Kempe and there is a window commemorating Kruger Gray the designer of many stained glass windows, as well his design work in other fields (see his note).
Edward Linley Sambourne 1844 -1910; Sambourne was a cartoonist and illustrator for Punch magazine for more than forty years, including some years as ‘First cartoonist’. He used to stay with his son at The Grange.
Ref. the notes on the Herapath and Sambourne family at The Grange that are in the Fittleworth History Archive resource; contact through History Archive
Ernest Savage 1910?-1992 Savage lived at Piper’s Studio on Tripp Hill and is most well known as an artist in pastels and for his fine pen and ink drawings, including one of St Mary’s Church, Fittleworth and ‘Forestry Centre, Devon’ at the Village Hall. He was a headteacher, a teacher of art and Vice President of thePastel Society, as well as writing several books including ‘Painting Landscapes in Pastel’.
Charles Sims R.A.1873-1928 Sims lived at Sandrocks in Lower Street from 1905 until he moved to Lodsworth in 1908.There is at least one painting of his garden at Sandrocks and a photograph of him painting in the garden. He had exhibited at the RA from 1894. In 1918 he worked as an official War Artist and in 1920 he was awarded the position of Keeper of the Royal Academy. He was also a Trustee of the Tate Gallery and was the author of several books on art. His painting had included society portraits and he had a painting ‘King John Confronted by his Barons’ hung in St Stephen’s Hall, Westminster in 1924, but in later years he was more troubled, his work became ‘mystical’ and was initially rejected by the RA.
John Smith 1852-1925; Although not a painter, through his large archive of carefully composed local photographs, he has left a record for artists and us all to see the world through the lens of the camera.
J M W Turner c1775 – 1851; Turner is a nationally aclaimed Romantic landscape painter, best known in this area for his connections with Petworth House and the scenes filmed there of ‘Turner’. He painted extensively in West Sussex. The 3rd Earl of Egremont comissioned Turner’s work and there is now the largest collection of his work outside the Tate Gallery at Petworth House. Turner visited Fittleworth and produced a lovely guache and watercolour painting of ‘Fittleworth Mill on the River Rother’ and like Constable, worked on a number of sketches of the area. There are drawings of St Mary’s church and of various views on Hesworth Common in his sketchbooks at Tate Britain.
A W Weedon 1838-1908; Weedon was known for his landscape watercolours of Sussex. He was auditor of the RBA in 1887 and his painting is at the Swan, Fittleworth
Charles Wilkins Waite was one of eight children, four of whom were artists. His grandfather was a miniaturist painter and his father a watercolourist. He travelled to Canada like his brother before him, returning to England; some time ago the village ‘archive’, via the Parish Council and the magazine, was asked to identify a painting of Fittleworth Lock, that had been found in Canada. The trail led to Charles Wilkins Waite.
Edward Wilkins Waite 1854-1924; Wilkins Waite was perhaps the most well-known of this family of artists. He was born in Leatherhead, Surrey and died in Fittleworth. He produced many rural landscapes, some on a large scale and many of the local area. Having worked as a lumberjack in Canada, he came back to England to work as an artist. He regularly exhibited paintings at the RA and other galleries and was a member of the RBA.
Clough Williams Ellis 1883-197 became involved in Fittleworth through designs for a terrace (1914) and a loggia (1925) for the Maxse family living at Little Bognor House, then called Brookdean. He also designed an impressive war memorial seat that was to be built on Hesworth Common.
Yeend King 1855-1924 Henry Yeend King painted mainly landscapes. He was elected to the RBA and had 94 works shown at the RA. There is a 1903 watercolour of Goose Farm in Hesworth Lane, reproduced in Angela Brookfield’s book ‘Fittleworth – a Time of Change 1895-1916’.
Artists working now or in the recent past, with connections with the Fittleworth area
There are a number of talented artists who have been producing work in a range of media in the village and local area; they include Peggy Spiller, Sheila Yeoman, Clare Jackman and Anne Waters and those who are creative with photography, wood-turning and textiles. The focus here is mainly on painting and some sculpture.
Some of the more notable artists working now or recently, who have had work exhibited widely include:
Jon Edgar; sculptor of the Frink School; work varies from work involving the community, exploring how a sculpture can emerge from the stone (most recently at NT Slindon), to clay portraits of eminent people and other more personal sculptures.
John Hitchens; from just outside Fittleworth, John is mainly a landscape painter of the South Downs, whose work has become more abstract over the years, with motifs symbolising elements of the countryside.
Andrew Holligan; photographer who integrates other materials into his work.
*Martin Paterson; painter whose mainly landscape work ‘aims to create something of formal beauty and wonder out of the randomness and uncertainty of nature’. *Sadly Martin died in late 2015.
Alan Thornhill; sculptor, potter and painter. Thornhill grew up in Fittleworth, living at Rotherwood. He has influenced many sculptors with his figurative and expressive work. He has written books, taught, is on film and public works include a sculpture trail in Putney.
I would be very grateful to hear more about any of our local artists; including paintings by ‘Humphries’ and the large panel by Stuart Thomas James, that I have not had time to research. M Welfare (please contact me through the Parish Clerk for information)