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Thomas Bush Hardy RBA (1842-1897)

Thomas Bush Hardy, RBA (1842-1897)

Thomas Bush Hardy was a prolific marine watercolourist whose output and enduring popularity has ensured penetration into the watercolour collections of England.

Though dictionary entries sneer at the predictability of palate and subject, at his best he can be a sensitive recorder of the natural effects of the littoral and at his worst still provides decoration of cheerful familiarity. The often seen 'long thin' choppy seascape of the nineties usually 'Off Boulogne' or 'Off Folkestone' or 'Off Calais' recalls Ruskin’s happy remarks in recollections of the Old Water-Colour Society in Notes on Samuel Prout and William Hunt:
discussed, with holiday gaiety, the unimposing merits of the favourites, from whose pencils we knew precisely what to expect, and by whom we were never either disappointed or surprised. Copley Fielding used to paint fishing-boats for us, in a fresh breeze,'Off Dover','Off Ramsgate', 'Off the Needles,' – off everywhere on the south coast where anybody had been last autumn; but we were always kept pleasantly in sight of land, and never saw so much as a gun fired in distress.
It is said that alcohol abuse and money problems beset T B Hardy towards the end of his life. Certainly this would fit with a group of illustrated letters from T B Hardy to his ironically named Dr Coffin that the gallery obtained some years ago; they are full of distressing abdominal symptoms, whereby the artist, far from asking advice, was happy to name the self medicating cure – to increase his daily intake of stout.

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Castles (1)
Coastal & Shore (2)
Ports & Harbours (1)

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