Frederick Daniel Hardy

(13 February 1827 - 1 April 1911)

Hardy was born in Windsor in Berkshire, one of six children of George Hardy, a musician to George IV, Queen Adelaide and Queen Victoria in the Royal household at Windsor. Frederick enrolled at the Academy of Music, Hanover Square, at the age of seventeen. He studied for three years, but finally abandoned music for art, following his eldest brother George Hardy (1822–1909), an established painter.

Hardy remained in Windsor until his marriage on 11 March 1852 to Rebecca Sophia Dorrofield. After living for some years at Snell's Wood, near Amersham, Buckinghamshire, they settled at 2 Waterloo Place, Cranbrook, Kent in 1854, where they stayed until 1875, moving first to Kensington, London, then returning to Cranbrook about 1893. The marriage produced five sons and a daughter.

Like Webster, his mentor who joined him at Cranbrook in 1857 (and was related to Frederick's mother) Hardy specialised in light-hearted scenes depicting children in detailed Victorian rooms, and also painted portraits. He exhibited ninety-three pictures at the Royal Academy from 1851 to 1898 and five at the British Institution between 1851 and 1856.

Hardy's works -- such as "A Quartette Party" and "Reading the Will" -- commanded high prices during his lifetime. Other paintings include: "Still life" (1852), "Tragedy" (1880), "Expectation" (1854), "A Christmas Party" (1857), "The Foreign Guest" (1859), "Children playing at doctors" (1863), "Coal Heavers" (1865), "Baby's birthday" (1867), "The Late Arrival" (1873), "Fatherless" (1876), "A Misdeal" (1877), "A Music Party" (1879), and "The Pet Lamb" (1888).

Hardy died in Cranbrook in April 1911 and was buried beside his wife in St Dunstan's churchyard. He left his estate to daughter Amelia Gertrude Hardy, also an artist who lived and painted in Cranbrook into the 1930s.

Hardy's artwork is to be found in numerous public collections, notably at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery which holds nineteen of his paintings.

HARDY, FREDERIC DANIEL, painter of domestic subjects, born at Windsor on 13 February 1827, was son of George Hardy, a musician to George IV, Queen Adelaide, and Queen Victoria, who showed some taste for painting. The eldest brother also, George Hardy (1822-1909), was a painter of domestic subjects, especially cottage interiors. Brought up to the musical profession, Frederic soon abandoned music for painting, in which his eldest brother instructed him. In 1851, he began to exhibit at the Royal Academy and British Institution small but highly finished interiors with figures. Careful detail was combined with breadth and refinement. He excelled in depicting cottage interiors, reproducing the surfaces of walls and brick floors with notable effect. His work soon became popular. He exhibited ninety-three pictures at the Academy between 1851 and 1898, five at the British Institution, and a few at other galleries. High prices were paid for his pictures at sales. 'A Quartette Party' fetched 810 guineas at Christie's in 1873, and 'Reading the Will' 550 guineas in 1877. He also painted a few portraits.
'Still Life' (1852) and
'Sunday Afternoon' (cottage interiors) are at the Victoria and Albert Museum;'
Children Playing at Doctors' (1863) at the Bethnal Green Museum;
'Try This Pair' and
'Little Helpers' at the Corporation Art Gallery, Guildhall, London;
'Interior of a Sussex Farmhouse' at the Leicester Corporation Art Gallery;
'Expectation' (interior of a cottage with mother and children, 1854) at the Royal Holloway College, Egham;
eighteen pictures, of which two only; 'Baby's Birthday' (1867) and
'A Misdeal' (1877), are dated, at the Municipal Art Gallery, Wolverhampton; and
'Tragedy' (four feet by six feet), lifesize figures in the box of a theatre (1880) at the City Art Gallery, Leeds.

On leaving Windsor, about 1852, Hardy after a short residence at Snell's Wood, near Amersham, Buckinghamshire, settled about 1854 at Cranbrook, Kent, where his brother George and his friends Thomas Webster, R.A. [q. v.], who was related to Hardy's mother, John Callcott Horsley, R.A. [q. V. Suppl. II], George Henry Boughton, A.R.A. [q. V. Suppl. II], and G. B. O'Neill also worked.

Like Webster, he had a studio in the house known as the 'Old Studio' in the High Street. About 1875 he moved to Kensington but returned to Cranbrook about 1893. He married on 11 March 1852, Rebecca Sophia, daughter of William Dorrofield, of Chorley Wood, by whom he had five sons and one daughter.

He died at 1 Waterloo Place, Cranbrook, on 1 April 1911, and was buried by the side of his wife in St. Dunstan's churchyard.

[A. G. Temple, The Art of Painting; Ottley, Dict.; Graves, Dict. of Artists, Roy. Acad, and British Institution Exhibitors; Bedford, Art Sales; J. C. Horsley, Recollections of a Royal Academician; Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement, by Basil Somerset Long.]

View painter's art: Frederick Daniel Hardy (1827-1911) [new window view]