Monday, 20 February 2012


'Life', an oil painting, 1913, by Charles Napier Hemy RA, RWS shows 3 of his 6 sons sailing his boat "Barbara", named after one of his 4 daughters. CH was one of the finest marine artists of the late victorian/edwardian period and 'Life' was one of his most famous paintings. It is certainly very evocative to anyone who has experienced small boat sailing, especially in the days of timber hulls, hemp rigging, and canvas sails.   

CH spent many years of his early life in a Dominican Priory and remained very religious throughout his life. He also had a very unreconstructed attitude to women, even for the time, and wrote: "Women are useless as painters, writers, musicians, doctors as they would be as engineers, sailors or soldiers. A woman is only a success, can only be a success doing her proper work in her proper place". 

But I forgive him . . . 

His grandaughter, the successful writer Margaret Powell, has written a well illustrated and illuminating biography:- "Master of the Sea: Charles Napier Hemy RA, RWS"

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