Robert John Hammond
Foot Bridge Yardley Wood
Oil on canvas, signed & dated 1897, also signed, inscribed & dated verso
Provenance: William Rivett, Gainsborough Gallery, London
Robert John Hammond was a landscape painter born in Blackfriars, London in 1853. By the time he was 18 he had moved to Sutton Coldfield where he initially became an apprentice watchmaker before becoming a full time artist. In 1871, he married Lucy Banner, the sister of the artist Alfred Banner (1860-1914) at Kings Norton, Worcestershire. They lived at 90 Kyrwicks Lane, Bordesley in Birmingham before moving to 467 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath.
Hammond became well known for his landscapes and rural scenes of the surrounding countryside but also travelled further afield to Bristol, Bournemouth and Sheffield. His son Horace Hammond (1879-1966) became a lithographer and landscape artist who used the pseudonyms of A D Bell and J Barclay.
He exhibited widely between 1882-1911 at the Royal Society of Artist, Birmingham as well as at the Manchester City Art Gallery. Hammond’s paintings show a pre-Raphaelite influence, particularly in his rendering of the landscape and use of colours. Often depicting cottages and rosy cheeked children at play they served as a reminder of a life far removed from the emerging industrial cities of the time. Towards the end of his life he lived at 3 Walford Road in Aston.
An example of his work can be found at the Birmingham Museum.
Yardley Wood is located in the south of Birmingham near Hall Green and Kings Heath and would have been only a few miles from Balsall Heath, where Hammond lived at the time. The River Cole lies to the east and the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal to the west, with the Chinn Brook traversing the area. In the 1890’s, it was a rural area with a scattering of dwellings and although the railway had yet to arrive, the nearby Stratford-upon-Avon Canal had been joined to the Birmingham and Warwick Canal since 1802. In this painting we see a red brick footbridge over what is certainly the River Cole. Beyond it, through the trees to the left, lies a cottage at the foot of a hill. On the river bank a girl rests next to a picnic basket whilst her brothers paddle in the shallows, collecting freshwater creatures in a jar.
The painting is housed in a new, English made gilt frame which is in excellent condition.
||23 inches x 37 inches (58.5cm x 94cm)
||30.75 inches x 44.75 inches (78cm x 114cm)