Saturday, 20 August 2011

Generational conflict?

Having read Walter Crane's memoirs, it has become apparent to me that Henry Hine and his daughters and sons-in-law may well have differed in their view of art.
Special edition of The Studio, 1906

Henry George Hine (Ethel Blount and Maude Egerton Hine's father) was a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours ('the Institute') from 1864 onwards, becoming Vice President in 1887, a post he held until his death in 1895.  His son, Harry Hine became a member in 1879.

Wareham Bridge, Henry G. Hine,
The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours,
The Studio, Special Number, Spring 1906

Walter Crane was a member of the Royal Institute of Watercolours from 1882.  Crane joined the Institute when it absorbed 'The Dudley', another watercolour group which organized an annual 'General Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings' which was held in the Egyptian Gallery of the Dudley Gallery.  In 'The History of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours' (The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, The Studio, Special Number, Spring 1906) it is noted that the Institute gained from 'The Dudley' "some of the best men...amongst these men may be noted some like Richard Beavis, Walter Crane and Herbert von Herkomer...twenty-seven men all of repute and distinguished capacity".  There is another connection here as Godfrey Blount trained under Herbert von Herkomer at Bushey.

The admission of "The Dudley" members swelled the Institute to what seems today a modest number of eighty-nine.  Walter Crane exhibited a number of works including La Belle Dame Sans Merci in their new Piccadilly galleries in 1884.  

La Belle Dame Sans Merci, by Walter Crane
exhibited at the Royal Institute of Watercolours, 1884
The conflict in the art scene at the time however led Walter Crane to resign from the Institute in 1886, along with George Clausen, one of his fellow Chelsea Conspirators.  Professor von Herkomer also left the Institute in 1890.   They all joined the rival organization, the Old Watercolour Society; Crane joined in 1888, Clausen in 1889 and von Herkomer in 1893.  Referred to at the time as the 'Old Society', this  is now called the Royal Watercolour Society.  They describe themselves on their website as "second only to the Royal Academy of Art in importance as an art society".  Crane states that at the time of resignation, he had done so "with no thought of being a candidate for another body" (Crane, Walter, An Artist’s Reminscences, The MacMillan Company, New York, 1907), so it appears that the Old Society had not lured the members away.

The two main UK watercolour organizations c.1900,
both of which are still in existence today
Walter Crane refers to his resignation from the Institute in 1886 as a follow-on from the early history of the Arts and Crafts movement.  He reproduces a letter from Sir James Dromgole Linton, president of the Institute at the time, Crane comments that prior to the letter Linton had tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to withdraw his resignation, "my dear Crane, I am sorry there was no alternative but resignation" (Crane, ibid).  Interestingly Linton was residing at Haverstock Hill in 1886 as was Henry G. Hine and family.
Study of St Albans Abbey at Sunset,
Harry T. Hine, 1880

The discontent with the established art organizations at the time, is demonstrated by Walter Crane in his public request for sponsorship of the first exhibition of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1888 "It has not been possible for a craftsman to test his work by the side of others, or, by a careful selection of examples, to prove that there are artists in other ways than oil or water colour, and other art than that enclosed in gilt frames or supported on pedestals." 
190-195 Piccadilly, London,
home of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour 1883-1970
where Henry G. Hine was Vice President 1887-1895
Throughout the emergence of the Arts and Crafts movement, Henry G. Hine held the position of Vice President at one of the rigid arts establishments.  I wonder what debates may have been had between him, his son Harry and his daughters and sons-in-law?  Would Henry have embraced the diverse crafts that the Blounts and the Kings called art?  Ultimately it would appear that Henry G. Hine left many of his paintings to Maude Egerton King (his youngest daughter), so whatever differences they may have had about art were overcome.

Godfrey Blout, from Arbor Vitae, 1899

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