Art and Artists in Fittleworth

Art and Artists in Fittleworth

There have been many artists working in our area, many living locally. From the Roman sculpture found in recent years; the Agincourt knight and his wife’s brass memorial at St Mary’s Stopham; the late Medieval wall paintings at Ivy House; to the many Victorian and Edwardian artists visiting Fittleworth’s Swan Inn and now, to those artists working in a range of media today. The Visitors Books from the Swan Inn contain the names of many artists, often with a sketch or watercolour. The book for 1903-1911 has been acquired by Fittleworth Archive for the village. A separate list of artists appearing in this is being compiled. A few of the more notable artists have been included here. Other artists left a painting as payment for food or lodging. Many of these were in the ‘panelled room’. This room no longer exists, but a number of their paintings are still on display there.

Below 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 for the village to share. Paintings from some of these artists can be seen at :-

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 – her work was chosen for Mall Gallery when 100 years old.

Wilfred Williams 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’; her father was the sculptor Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm (sculptor; see the later 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, Kensington; Marion has chronicled detailed accounts of life both there and in their many visits to Fittleworth. Linley and other members of the family visited The Swan Inn.

Alfred Bennett 1861-1923 Bennett was a landscape painter and etcher, painting 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.

H Brend ; A local artist mainly working with pen and ink

Waltor Wallor Caffyn 1845-1898; mainly oils, including painting ‘On the River Rother Fittleworth’

R H Chapman A painting of a springtime orchard with a lamb, at The Swan

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 – and a possible ‘G Constable’ painting in the Swan. There is some debate about whether the ‘G Constable’ is George or Golding  Constable and another painting signed G S Constable may be Guy Sefton Constable – a regular visitor to the Swan, as seen in the 1904-1911 Visitors Book.

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.

Jeanne Courtauld 1910-2003; she was a niece of Samuel Courtauld and had a studio in Pulborough. She studied at the RA schools worked with Anthony Blunt, Peter Lasko and Michael Kauffmann. Jeanne painted the wide, large scenes of Fittleworth in the Village Hall.

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, that 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.

Alexander MacBride (1859-1955); RSW,RI A mainly watercolour landscape painter, he attended the Glasgow Schoolof Art, exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, Artists Society and the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. A MacBride painting of St Mary’s Fittleworth has recently been donated to the church.

Margaret Macdonald 1864-1933; A defining artist of the ‘Glasgow school,’ Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s wife came from England.  When the two of them came to Fittleworth on a sketching holiday, she wrote in the Visitor’s Book at the Swan in 1905 ‘We have been in this lovely village for a week staying at The Swan – an ideal inn – presided over by an ideal hostess’

Charles Rennie Mackintosh 1868-1928;Scottish architect, designer, water colourist and artist. His artwork, furniture and buildings can be seen in Glasgow and around the world, including the Glasgow School of Art – at which there was a recent fire. Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald stayed at The Swan for a week in 1905 while they sketched in Fittleworth and Stopham. Some sketches including one of Stopham Manor House are at The Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.

Alfred Messel ; the Messel family of Nymans, Handcross (a National Trust location) were related to the Herapath  family at The Grange, Fittleworth. Both Alfred, an architect and his brother Ludwig and Ludwig’s son, Leonard  were visitors at the Swan. Leonard’s son was Oliver Messel, theatre and film designer. Ludwig and Leonard signed the 1904-11 Visitors Book.

Gwenda Morgan 1908-1991; a wood engraver, she lived in Petworth (her family were at what is now Austins Hardware store), 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.

Claude Muncaster; 1903 – 1974 A painting of St Marys, Fittleworth by Claude Muncaster, showing the church rebuilt after only the tower and chancel had been left, hangs in the church. Claude Muncaster changed his name from Grahame Hall  to Muncaster, so that it wasn’t confused with his father, who was also an artist. Claude first exhibited his work aged 15. He became an Associate of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1931, a founder member, and later President, of the Royal Society of Marine Artists and was asked by the Queen to paint the royal residences He was a War artist in WWll and died in nearby Sutton, in 1974.

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.

M Oliver 1886-1921? A painting at the Swan Inn

A. C. Osborne A painting,probably of the Rother, in the Swan.

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 (available at the Archive) and accounts from Gordon Goodyer and Ron Thatcher (with grateful thanks to the Petworth Society Magazine).

‘Padwicks Field’, a ‘close’ in the village, is named after him, as Padwick had a garage there built on that site (later demolished), 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 from 1903.  He is thought to have  lived in Worthing

Martin Paterson; (-2015) A painter whose mainly landscape work ‘aims to create something of formal beauty and wonder out of the randomness and uncertainty of nature’. A Paterson painting and a print of his garden have been donated to the village.

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

J R S and Bepsie Robertson; These two artists are seen regularly at the Swan in the early 1900s,  signing and painting watercolours of local scenes in the Visitor’s Book.

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. Some windows are by CE Kempe, some by his factory. 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) and a window commemorating the first Police Chief Constable,in West Sussex, Frederick Montgomerie, who lived in Fittleworth.

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 and was a visitor at The Swan.

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 the Pastel 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 Sims 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.

Phillip E Stretton c1865-1919; he was an animal and sporting subjects painter. An admirer of Landseer. He stayed at the Swan, along with his young son George Dudgeon-Stretton, who later became a cinematographer (signatures in the Swan’s Visitors Book) .He has a painting at the Swan.

H J Thaddens; 1859-1929 A visitor to the Swan, he was an RHA Irish Artist

Alan Thornhill; (1921-2020) sculptor, potter and painter. Thornhill grew up in Fittleworth, living at Rotherwood.  Thornhill has influenced many sculptors with his figurative and expressive work. He has written books, taught and is on film. His public works include a sculpture trail in Putney. Alan died in March 2020 – Fittleworth has been fortunate in having a Thornhill painting donated by the family, through one of his past students, local sculptor Jon Edgar.

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; Edward 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. There is a print of a painting of The Terrace by Edward W W in the Village Hall and given to the Archive.

Clough Williams Ellis 1883-1978 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.

Richard Caton Woodville Jnr. 1856-1927 The son of an American artist, R Caton Woodville Snr. lived and died in London. He worked for the Illustrated London News and other magazines including the Tatler, but became most well-known as an artist of battles, with three WWl works exhibited at the Royal Academy and painter of many other battle scenes. He was the artist who painted the Swan sign that was beneath the arch in the late 1890s and early 1900s. There is a description of him painting the double-sided board, in the book ‘On Southern English Roads’ by J J Hissey 1896. It was later hung on a wall in the Swan.

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 have included 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. Clare Jackman’s work can be seen in cards at Fittleworth Stores.

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 (including at N.T. Slindon and High Woods, Broadbridge Heath), to clay portraits of eminent people and other more personal sculptures. One of Jon’s tutors was Alan Thornhill, the sculptor and artist is listed above.

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. His artistic family includes His father Ivon, his grandfather Alfred, and his brother Simon;  a major exhibition at the Pallant Gallery Chichester in 2019 displayed work from them all.

Andrew Holligan; photographer who integrates other materials into his work.

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 yet been able to research. M Welfare please contact