Heywood Hardy

(1842 - 1933)


Born in Chichester, Heywood Hardy, like so many artists in his day, belonged to a family of artists. His father, James Hardy (1801-1879), was a respected landscape painter. His older brother, James Hardy II (1832-1889), was a sensitive painter of horses and dogs, often in English and Scottish Highland hunting scenes. Heywood Hardy studied art at the Beaux Arts in Paris from 1864, and upon his return to England in 1868, found his services as an artist were in great demand. He was frequently commissioned to paint portraits, sporting scenes, and animal studies. He was elected to the Royal Society of Painters and Etchers, The Royal Institute of Oil Painters, The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and he exhibited at the Royal Academy, the British Institute, and the Grosvenor and New Galleries.Although considered mainly a painter of hunting and sporting scenes, Hardy's talents were much more broad than that, and many of his paintings are genre (paintings that depict scenes or events from everyday life). When compared to other British artists of his day (the late Victorian era), Hardy's style appears closer to the Impressionists. This, perhaps, is not surprising, since he studied in Paris during the height of the Impressionist Movement and is bound to have been influenced by them, though he doesn't completely abandon the British School.


Heywood Hardy was a painter and etcher of animals, portraits, genre and sporting paintings. Hardy was born in Chichester, son of the artist James Hardy, Snr (1801-79) and younger brother of James Hardy, Jnr. (1832-89).

Hardy left home at the age of 17, and attempted to earn a living by painting animal paintings. Hardy did this successfully and, after a short time with the 7th Somerset Volunteers, Hardy borrowed some money from his brother and travelled to Paris. In 1864 Hardy entered the Beaux Arts to study under the battle artist, Pielse.

Hardy returned to England in 1868 and found he was in great demand. Heywood Hardy was often invited to country estates to paint portrait paintings, sporting paintings and animal studies. Hardy continued to enjoy commissions for portraits, animal studies and hunting scene paintings, but he decided to concentrate on painting genre subjects. In addition, Heywood Hardy provided illustrations for magazines such as the Illustrated London News, and The Graphic, as well as producing etchings of his paintings.

Considered to be one of the most accomplished sporting painters spanning the 19th and 20th centuries, Heywood Hardy was born in Bristol, England in 1843. He received his formal art training in London, Paris and Antwerp, and he was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Royal Society of Etchers and an Associate of the Royal Water Colour Society. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and also at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours, Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, Fine Art Society, Manchester City Art Gallery, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, and the Tooling Galleries. His work shows a special sensitivity to the hunt and its natural surroundings, original and delightful, yet strong and well finished. Avidly sought after, hunting scenes dating from the Victorian period have become very scarce.

In 1870 Hardy and his family moved to St John's Wood, London -- an area then popular with artists. During this period Heywood Hardy's career flourished and he was elected a member of a number of societies including The Royal Society of Painters and Etchers, The Royal Institute of Oil Painters, and The Royal Society of Portrait Painters.

In 1909 Hardy moved to West Sussex and at the age of 83 he painted the first in a series of eight panel paintings depicting biblical scenes for the chancel of Clymping Church, to mark its 700th anniversary in 1925. At the time, these panels caused considerable controversy as they depicted Christ walking on the Sussex Downs and local farmland, amidst modern figures, said to be residents from nearby villages.


In the 18th century there were many artists who distinguished themselves with sporting paintings. Heywood Hardy, born in Chichester, November 25, 1842, was the youngest son of James Hardy Sr. (1801-1879). His older brother, James Hardy II (1832-1889), was a painter of horses, as well. It was not all smooth sailing for Heywood Hardy during his painting career. He began painting animals in Keynsham but did not do well in this endeavor. He joined the 7th Somerset Volunteers, went on to Paris and entered the École des Beaux-Arts, studied under the battle artist, Pielse and in 1864 visited Antwerp before 1868.

Sharing a studio with Briton Riviere, Heywood Hardy settled in London in 1870. He did quite well at this point in time. He was a member of the Royal Society of Painters and Etchers, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, was an associate of the Royal Watercolour Society, and worked as an illustrator. His work appeared in the Graphic Magazine and The Illustrated London News. He, along with his family, lived and flourished in the artist area of St. John's Wood in London. His work was sought after and very much in demand.

Among Hardy's patrons were Colonel Wyndham Murray, the Marquis of Zetland and the Sitwells of Renishaw. He became well known for his sensitive paintings of sporting horses and animals. In 1909 Hardy moved to West Sussex. Here he entered into a special phase of his painting career. He began biblical scenes. They consisted of a series of eight panel paintings. These biblical paintings proved to be somewhat controversial at the time. Hardy was eighty three years old. These paintings can still be seen at the Clymping Church. These panels were painted to commemorate the church's 700th anniversary in 1925. Haywood Hardy died in 1933.