From poverty to artistic celebrity
By Bob Hind
Published on Saturday 24 November 2012 08:00
If, like me, you have never heard of Portsmouth watercolour artist Richard Henry Clement Ubsdell (1812-1887) then I must tell you of two books fresh to the shelves.
The two sister books tell of Ubsdell’s painstaking work of painting nearly every church and building of interest in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Author Chris Brindle, a distant relative, tells how the artist rose from abject poverty fro m his birth in the Blue Posts pub in Broad Street, Old Portsmouth, to be a local celebrity.
He has reproduced much of the artist’s work with then and now scenes and every page of paintings and photographs is in colour.
Hampshire – Discovering the 19th Century World of Portsmouth Artist RHC Ubsdell is a must for your bookshelves if you have a love of Hampshire or just a general interest in art and history.
Famous families from the county from Florence Nightingale to Jane Austen and William Cobbett have been researched as are many of the churches and their graveyards with so many famous people interred within.
You can also treasure Ubsdell’s images of stately homes and landscapes before the building of the 20th century destroyed them.
Each book comprises 140 A4 pages and each has at least two and sometimes four to five illustrations on each page with full descriptions. There are also useful maps from the time showing the locations of the paintings.
Volume 1 covers Portsmouth and South Hampshire while Volume 2 deals with Southampton and North Hampshire.
Between 1840 and 1846 Ubsdell walked the entire county looking for portrait work and as he bypassed the towns, villages and hamlets he painted local features, mostly churches. Nearly every village has been included .
Hundreds of these watercolours have been virtually unseen for more than a century, but now you can now see them in all their glory.
Hampshire – Discovering the World of Portsmouth Artist RHC Ubsdell, Volume 1: Portsmouth and South Hampshire; Volume 2: Southampton and North Hampshire. Published by Brindle Enterprises at £22.50 each. Pictures courtesy Portsmouth Museums, Archives and Visitor Services.
The exhibition at the City Museum called Portraits and Landscapes: rediscovering Richard Ubsdell, a Portsmouth artist 1812-1887, has been extended until Sunday, January 27, 2013.