Friday, 28 April 2017

Ralph Hedley

Ralph Hedley was a painter of the people, places and events in North East England in later Victorian & Edwardian times.  The examples below are on display in the Laing.
Geordie Haa'd the Bairn, 1890
(miner left holding the bairn in his one room cottage)
Going Home, 1888
(miner father & son going home after their shift)
Compare the above to the picture painted by William Morrison of Chester le Street in evidence to the Children's Employment Commission, 1842 (which led to no females or boys under 10 working underground):
The "outward man" distinguishes a pitman from every other operative.  His stature is diminutive, his figure disproportionate and misshapen; his legs being much bowed; his chest protruding (the thoracic region being unequally developed).   His countenance is not less striking than his figure; his cheeks being generally hollow, his brow overhanging, his cheek bones high, his forehead low and retreating; nor is his appearance healthful; his habit is tainted with scrofula.   I have seen agricultural labourers, blacksmiths, carpenters, and even those among the wan and distressed stocking weavers of Nottinghamshire, to whom the term "jolly" might not be inaptly applied, but I never saw a "jolly looking" pitman.

For more of Hedley's works, see the Art UK web site.