Saturday, 4 December 2010

Hine Family Artists

In addition to the Towner Art Gallery exhibition of Henry George Hine in 2003 (in my previous post), the other main Henry George Hine event in recent years was the October 1988 Christie's sale of 'Watercolours by Henry George Hine and other artists of the Hine family'.  It is interesting to see the art that Maude Egerton King's (nee Hine) and Ethel Blount's (nee Hine) close family were producing.

Illustrated by Figures crossing a back Street in London, early morning, Winter, 1887 by Henry George Hine
Henry George Hine 1811-1895
According to the brochure, a large number of the paintings Hine produced in the 1840s and early 1850s, were commissioned by his friend the poet and antiquarian F. Wykeham Archer FSA, who probably commissioned Fire at Drury Lane.    Hine first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1830 with an oil painting Don Quixote in the Sable Mountains, in 1833 he exhibited for the first time at the Royal Society of British Artists a work The Tired Bandit.  He then continued to exhibit at both venues regularly.  His oil painting Smugglers awaiting for a Lugger exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1859 is stated as the turning point in Hine's career, generating a lot of attention.

Henry George Hine

In 1863 Hine was elected to the Institute of Painters in Water Colours, his exhibits that year included St Paul's from Fleet Street and The Great Fire, Cotton's Wharf as seen from the New Cattle Market.  In 1864 Hine exhibited a landscape watercolour View of Ballard Down and Cliffs from Peveril Point, Dorset.  From then on Hine spent the majority of his time painting in his favourite part of England, the South Downs around Brighton, Lewes, Haywards Heath, Midhurst and Eastbourne.  He was to exhibit almost exclusively at the Institute (which became the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1884), and almost exclusively landscapes of the South Downs.  Hine is quoted as saying that "it was as difficult and subtle to mould the shapes of the South Downs as it was a human body".

Records show that Hine exhibited 331 paintings in his lifetime: 306 at the Institute, 16 at Suffolk Street and 8 at the Royal Academy.  His ledger records a large number of his works being commissioned or sold to 3 buyers: Joseph King (his son-in-law), E.J.Vialls and H.Burton.  Hine became Vice-President of the Royal Institute in 1887 and was annually re-elected until his death.  Friends suggested he never became President due to his modesty, and that this was also why he never had an exhibition devoted entirely to him in his lifetime.  In 1896 The Fine Art Society held an exhibition The South Downs by the late H. G. Hine, V.P.R.I. and in 1905 Leicester Galleries  exhibited H. G. Hine, V. P. R. I.

Hine died of bronchitis in 1895, following influenza.  He is recorded as having been able to wield his brush right until the last.  In 1890, Tom Taylor of The Times wrote of Hine's view of Fittleworth Common " its grave and solemn dignity, in the beauty of its colour and line, and in the subtle way in which it renders the atmosphere of Southern England, this Sussex drawing is a masterpiece.  A man who can do this at seventy-nine is surely a great artist."

The tributes following his death showed that Hine would also be remembered for his kind heart and his sense of humour.  Hine regularly helped artists less fortunate than himself, and was well known as a great raconteur of his own stories of Brighton and London in the old days, and those of his father, recorded in Maude Egerton King's Round about a Brighton Coach Office.  Hine was also known jokingly to trace his ancestry back to a Captain Hine, a highwayman and Royalist executed by Cromwell.

Mary Ann Eliza Hine (nee Egerton)1817-1901
Hine's wife was a painter herself and she exhibited a figurative watercolour at the Dudley Gallery in 1873 (Graves, A Dictionary of Artists, 1901).

Possibly William Egerton Hine by Cecil Beaton, 1918, National Portrait Gallery
William Egerton Hine, courtesy of Harrow School

William Egerton Hine 1851-1926
' Eggie' Hine was Cecil Beaton' s art master at Harrow. An accomplished artist who exhibited landscapes at the Royal Academy and other London galleries, he revolutionised the teaching of art at Harrow and built its first art school. It was with his tutelage and support that Beaton's talent for drawing and painting blossomed and he began winning prizes and selling work.

According to the Christie's catalogue, William exhibited at the Royal Academy, Suffolk Street, the New Society and the Dudley Gallery.  According to Harrow School records, William studied at the School of Art , Nuremberg and under M. Gerome in Paris .  He was Inspector of Art to the London University Extension Board and an Exhibition of Watercolours by him was held at the Fine Art Society in London 1910-11.  He joined Harrow School as an Art teacher in 1892 and left in 1922.

Borrowdale at Sunset by William Egerton Hine, 1921

Of the three works at the Christie's auction, including the above, Studland Beach in 1909 is described as further transcribed "To my dear niece Katharine King on her 21st birthday from the painter".  The other work dated April 1895 A House at Lower Bertly, Witley, would appear to place his sister Maude Egerton King and Joseph King at Lower Bertly in 1895 with William visiting them.  It would appear therefore that the Kings were living in Lower Bertly (now called Lower Birtley) when they first moved to the area, and there have been some other references to this, but sometime before the 1901 census they moved a mile up the road to Upper Birtley.

A House at Lower Bertley, Witley by William Egerton Hine, 1895

When William died in 1926 he bequeathed Longdene Copse, Haslemere.  This would suggest he retired to Haslemere, and possibly was living with his sister Marion Hine or had been living in her old house.  Marion is recorded on the 1911 census as living in Silverbirches, Longdene Road, Haslemere.

A young Ethel Blount? A Girl Playing a Grand Piano in Drawing Room by Esther Hine, 1872
A young Ethel Blount?  A Girl Playing with a Doll in an Interior by Esther Hine, 1872

Esther Hine 1842-1872
Esther was a portrait painter, and became the Art Mistress at the North London Collegiate School for Girls.  The Christie's auction lists two pencil and watercolours A Girl Playing a Grand Piano in Drawing Room (1872), where the back is inscribed identifying the sitter as 'either Ethel (b.1864) or Katherine (b. 1859), and A Girl Playing with a Doll in an Interior, where the backboard identifies the room as being in the Hine's house.  Presumably both of these paintings were of the Hine household, and of Esther's sisters.  The latter painting is now in the Guarisco Gallery in Washington DC.  Both of these paintings appear to have been painted in the year of her death.

Ely Cathedral by Harry T. Hine

Harry T. Hine 1845-1941
There were four of Harry's pencil and watercolour works in the Christie's sale.  What is somewhat strange is Christie's describing Harry as being the "Art Master at Harrow between 1892 until 1932", when it would appear that his brother William was the Art Master there not Harry.  The works in the auction were Lincoln Cathedral at Sunset, Ely Cathedral, Durham Cathedral and Bamborough Castle, Early Morning.

Edith Hine 
Within some of the lots are works by Edith Hine, who is referred to as one of Henry George Hine's daughters.  Works produced by her include A Pastel of a Garden Near a Tudor Style House (August 1916) and a watercolour of Mrs H.G.Hine in a doorway, reading.

Christopher Norris
The Christie's auction was from the collection of the late Christopher Norris.  Norris was born in Haslemere in 1907.  His mother was Mellicent Oakes who was a good friend of Maude Egerton King.  Her husband was Major S. L. Norris, R.E.  Greville MacDonald recalls in a letter to his mother about meeting Mellicent in November 1899 "I had a happy day at Birtly.  Maude's girlfriend, only 15, Melcie Oakes, was there: such a wonderful gentle personality.  She can lie down in the woods and call the birds and they come to her!  She worships Father, and seems to have, though little more than a child, an awareness of magical on-goings.  Her mother, Maude tells me, is almost superhuman in her deep perceptions of spiritual happenings, extraordinarily gifted in second sight." (MacDonald, 1932, Reminiscences of a Specialist, London, George Allen and Unwin).  Melcie is described as working on The Vineyard with Maude Egerton King, and becoming life-long friends.  Their families remained close, and Katharine King became godmother to Christopher Norris' younger daughter Tessa.

It was through Maude that Norris became acquainted with H.G.Hine's work, where he built up an extensive collection.  A number of the works were bequeathed to him from the Kings or the Hine family.  

The works - more information

  • A large number of the works had been owned by William Egerton Hine.  
  • Fisherfolk on the Shore near a beached Merchantboat came from Gertrude Hine (1951)
  • A Faggot Gatherer and another Figure in Cowdray Park (?) was from Gertrude Hine.  Cowdray Park being the closest place to Haslemere from Hine's pictures.  Christie's note that "Cowdray Park was a favourite subject for the artist and provided endless inspiration.  Seven views of the park trees and church were exhibited at the Institute between 1878 and 1886."
  • A Fishing Fleet in a Calm (1881) went from Ethel Hine to Greville MacDonald
  • Fishermen on Beachy Head, Sunset (1893) went from Joseph King to his second wife, Helena King then to Norris in 1977, and was originally bought for 100 guineas
  • Joseph King had owned the two London pictures - A Figure Crossing a Back London Street, Early Morning, Winter (1887), which is thought to be in Hampstead where Hine was living at the time, and A Fire in Drury Lane by the Cock and Magpie (1887)
  • Portrait of the Artist's Mother went from Maude Egerton King to her daughter Katharine King and then to Norris
  • A Sluice Mill, Pevensey Marshes was sold to Joseph King in 1913 for 5 guineas and given to Mellicent Norris as a gift from Maude Egerton King


  1. Hello

    I found this site very interesting - it gave me alot of background information about William Egerton Hine. My husband has a notebook/sketchbook which contains many sketches,(one is of "Pops" which we think might be Henry Hine)and ink pen cartoons which are dated. There are also sketches of bronzes and of Nuremburg. As we live in Dorset and he was painting around Studland we feel he may have dropped the notebook or left it behind once he had completed his visit. If anyone is interested I can tell you more about the content of the notebook.

    1. Hello Ragdoll,
      I would dearly love to see your sketchbook. I'm visiting Portland Island the end of October 2012. Yours Bruce

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hi Ragdoll, That sounds very interesting. I'd love to find out more about all of these people, so yes, if you're happy to share anything with me that would be great

  4. Hi, my father is H G Hine's grandson & would like to join the blog. I am currently attempting to tell him how to do this..

  5. Hi Jo, that sounds very exciting! I know it's a bit difficult to join, he doesn't need to join in order to read along. I've been in contact with someone who's relative is Gertrude Hine's grand daughter. One of H.G. Hine's many children.

    I would love to hear any information you may have. My e-mail is


    1. Hi Kate,
      I have passed your message on to my dad. He says:
      "I was very interested to read about the sketchbook, that I am WEH's grandson and was there any chance of seeing the sketchbook. I have a number of his paintings."
      my email is:
      Best wishes,

  6. H G is my Great Great etc Grandfather. I still carry the Egerton in my name. I have a couple of watercolour sketches of HG's given to me by my Great Aunt Margaret Ridout. The artistic gene survives in this branch of the family. The Hine side of the family are a really interesting bunch. I can confirm that the highwayman legend may be substantiated by my brother who wears a ring given to a lawyer firm to pay for his defence when caught once. He wasn't so lucky the next time and was hanged at Tyburn. The firm handed it back to the family many years later and as I said my eldest brother now owns it. Yours Bruce Esmond Egerton Penny

    1. Hello, I read your post with interest. I wonder if you can help me. I have come across a painting of H G Hine entitled " The downs near Eastbourne with a shepherd by a mill". The windmill is a post mill & I am curious to know where it was painted. I have looked at other works of your great grandfather x many & I can see he was very a very accomplished artist.
      Best regards Rick Davis

  7. Bruce, it is fantastic that you have got in touch and shared the information above. It's great that the Egerton name continues today, and how interesting that the highwayman legend was correct!

    If you know anything about why H.G. Hine's daughter Maude and then her siblings Ethel, Marian and William should decide to live in Haslemere, or anything else, then I'd love to hear from you.

  8. I will try and find out. Great Aunt Margaret told me many stories about this bunch and my Mother knows more. She is one of the last Hines surviving who can remember some of these people. Did you know that Maude's book of H G's life in Brighton and the Coach House is back in print and there is even a free edition available on Kindle, though it suffers from the digital scan and some letter combinations are corrupted.

  9. Bruce, that would be fantastic, thank you.

    I have seen that a few of the books published by Maude Egerton Hine and also Godfrey Blount are available in new editions, on short print runs I think! A relative was living in Brighton about the time that 'Round about a Brighton coach office' is set, and my Dad enjoyed reading the book...on, where there is also her 'Bread and Wine' and 'My book of songs and sonnets'.

  10. I have two Harry Hine paintings. Did win another one, but for some reason the auction house sold to somelse - too bad. Love the paintings.
    Tony in Canada.

    1. Dear Tony, thank you so much for making contact. I've been off my blog for a while, and must have overlooked your comment. I've sent you an e-mail.
      Best wishes

  11. You mention that Edith Hine might be the daughter of Henry George Hine - although it appears from censuses that Henry and his wife had a very large family, none of the daughters is called Edith. In fact it could be that Edith is in fact the wife of William Egerton Hine. She was born Edith Louise Minnie Heath in 1863 - when her father died, her mother and daughters moved back to Tonbridge, and later to Leigh in Kent. Edith married William Egerton Heath and they had several children. One of their children, Geoffrey Hine, died in WW1 1915 and is commemorated in Leigh Church. Edith Hine gives herself as an artist, and an artist, pastels, sculptress in various censuses. The Leigh Historical Society has a pastel picture by Edith of Leigh St Mary's with cottages in front, dated 1882. You can see a photograph of it on our website.
    Joyce Field, Sec. Leigh Historical Society.

    1. Dear Joyce, Thank you so much for taking time to share this information with me. You're right, Edith was William's wife. Her grave with William is in the St Bartholomew's cemetery, Haslemere opposite Maude's. Best wishes Kate


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