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(iii) free from any substance used to prevent slippage during scanning.
Object Specific Information
Parish Church of St. Peter, Titchfield, Hampshire
Richard Henry Clements Ubsdell (1812-1887), July 1840
28 cm (h) x 38.1 cm (w)
The four vibrant watercolours of the Parish Church of St. Peter and its Wriothesley/Southampton Monuments, featured throughout the SSLT/SORR website, were painted by R.H.C. Ubsdell. Together they provide important testimony from 1839-40 of the Church, Southampton Chapel and the two Wriothesley memorials prior to their 20th-century restorations. Thought lost, the three interior watercolours were recently re-discovered in the archive of the Society of Antiquaries of London. The exterior watercolour is reproduced by kind permission of Portsmouth Museum Service/Portsmouth City Council
The current Lord Montagu is leading an appeal to restore the Wriothesley monuments and would be grateful to receive any information, early drawings or photographs of the monuments and any information regarding the whereabouts of the two missing angels described, and depicted flanking the recumbent Lady Mary Wriothesley Monument, in 1719 and 1840. R.H.C. Ubsdell created a beautiful watercolour of the Lady Mary Monument in 1840, complete with the two, now missing, Angels. On the back he provided this description: “The figures are much defaced, and only one hand remains, which appears to have held a palm branch. The figure above the monument probably held a trumpet. The figures of the Angels measure 25 inches in height.”
Reproduced by kind permission of Portsmouth Museum Service/Portsmouth City Council
Author of Ubsdell's oeuvre, Chris Brindle, describes Ubsdell thus:
Richard Henry Clements Ubsdell rose from poverty to prosperity and social standing by his skill as an artist and talent as a businessman.
He was born in the pub in which his father was a waiter. He and his younger brother Daniel became portrait painters, specialising in miniatures; tiny watercolours on ivory which had their heyday before photography.
Richard married Mary Ann Pennal in 1833, when she was 19. They had four children by 1839.
To support his growing family Ubsdell took every opportunity to build his reputation as an artist, for example by lecturing on art to the Literary & Philosophical Society and, by introduction, making contact with the rich and titled members of the Royal Yacht Squadron on the Isle of Wight.
He painted beautiful watercolours of items recovered from the Mary Rose. Between 1840 and 1846 he walked the length and breadth of Hampshire seeking portraiture work.
As a by-product he painted over 100 watercolours of the Hampshire Churches he passed on his travels. These he sold to the Bishop of Winchester and Sir Frederic Madden.
The council paid him to create illuminated addresses on vellum for visiting dignitaries. In painting miniatures, and collecting images of people for a series of paintings of gatherings at significant events, he painted many famous people, including Jane Austen’s sailor brothers and Jane’s niece Anna Lefroy. He also painted the Courts of Queen Victoria and Louis Philippe of France. His miniature of Anna Lefroy captures Anna in the pose of a writer, Anna having recently inherited the manuscript of ‘Sanditon’ (Jane’s last unfinished novel) and in the process of writing her continuation.
Many of Ubsdell’s images were subsequently used by more famous artists, lithographers, and the publishers of the illustrated London newspapers.
By 1857 Ubsdell was an early photographer, and with his two sons created a library of local landmarks as stereoscopic images on glass slides. (Most probably these would have been sold to the London Stereoscopic Company who were rapidly expanding their catalogue of images.)
In 1859 he moved from his small studio in Portsmouth High Street to an impressive art and photographic studio and gallery overlooking Governor’s Green in Portsmouth. Here he made his fortune in the craze for photographic visiting cards known as Carte-de-Visite.
By the late 1860s, Ubsdell had become the paramount artist in Portsmouth and its hinterland. Life then became a matter of personal fulfilment. He started an ascent through the various ranks of the Freemasons and in 1870 was elected a borough councillor, where amongst other things he sat on the Sanitary Authority who were at the time constructing and improving Portsmouth’s sewers.
Sadly, his wife and children all died before him, his daughter Lavinia not yet two. He himself died of cancer of the tongue aged 75, perhaps caused by bringing watercolour brushes to a point in his mouth.
Ubsdell is represented by pictures in the Royal Collection, The National Maritime Museum, The National Portrait Gallery, Winchester Cathedral Library, Portsmouth Museums & Record Service, Chawton Cottage & The National Trust Property Uppark, Society of Antiquaries of London, as well as in many private collections yet to be discovered!
Source: Chris Brindle, "Hampshire: R.H.C. Ubsdell (1812-1887)", at http://ubsdell.com
See also: Brindle, Chris. Hampshire: Discovering the 19th Century World of Portsmouth Artist R.H.C. Ubsdell, Vols. 1 & 2 (Colchester, Essex: Brindle Enterprises Ltd., 2012).
|Other Sources: http://ubsdell.com