Ralph Hedley (British 1851-1913) The tournament 83 x 103 cm. (32 1/2 x 40 1/2 in.)

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Lot 53
Ralph Hedley
(British 1851-1913)
The tournament 83 x 103 cm. (32 1/2 x 40 1/2 in.)

Sold for £ 43,020 (US$ 52,229) inc. premium
Ralph Hedley (British 1851-1913)
The tournament
signed and dated 'R Hedley 98' (lower right)
oil on canvas
83 x 103 cm. (32 1/2 x 40 1/2 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    La Sagesse school, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

    Exhibited:
    Royal Academy, 1898.


    Ralph Hedley was a prolific painter and woodcarver, born to an artisan family and raised in Newcastle. He trained at Elswick School of art under William Bell Scott and Scott’s use of local subject matter would influence Hedley for the remainder of his career. Hedley went into the woodcarving industry, working for T. H. Tweedy, one of the most prestigious workshops in the Tyneside area, and later opening his own workshop. Whilst he would find great success as a craftsman, creating greatly artistic pieces for a number of local churches and societies, it is for his paintings that he gained greater notoriety.

    Hedley drew on the Newlyn school and other social realists for his stylistic influences, and his beloved Newcastle and the surrounding Tyneside area for his subject matter. He was equally comfortable portraying the gritty realism of dockworkers and miners or the charming naivety of children at play, as depicted in ‘The Tournament’. His involvement with the Bewick club, as successful exhibitor, committee member and eventually as president, ensured that he had no shortage of wealthy patrons for both his carvings and his paintings. However, his work was equally adored by the working class which so regularly provided his subjects, reproductions of his most renowned works being distributed through local papers and tea promotions and embellishing adverts for cigarettes. His reputation and business continued to expand throughout his lifetime, as he became a member of the RBA and exhibited a number of paintings at the Royal Academy.

    Literature:
    Millard, John, Ralph Hedley, Tyneside Painter, Tyne and Wear Museums, 1990, passim.
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