Lost Ralph Hedley pictures

Papers, notebooks, press cuttings, sketches and photos relating to the Tyneside artist Ralph Hedley were left to the Laing Art Gallery by the artist’s great-grandson Julian Brown. Some of the sketches are on show in the exhibition Ralph Hedley: Painting the North East at the Shipley Art Gallery until 21 December 2013. But there’s loads more. I’ve been working with a team of volunteers to sort out and record the piles of papers so that they can be made accessible. As the work progresses we’re finding photos of missing or lost paintings. Here are a few.

Ready for a stroll (1887) is only known from this press cutting. The chair makes another appearance in Market morning (1888) in the Shipley exhibition, and a similar hat to the one on the chair is in Hedley’s self portrait on display in Northern Spirit at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle.

These pictures are only known from old photos that were probably taken in Hedley’s studio.

The horse thresher (1900) shows workers at a huge threshing machine driven by four horses – the farm at Beamish museum has a similar machine.

The rope walk (1899) shows workers twisting a long length of rope.

These pictures have been tracked more recently but they have disappeared again.

On the look-out (1883) is an early hand-drawn colour print (chromolithograph) of a Hedley painting.

Age and want; oh, ill-matched pair (1899) shows a woman in her home with no fire and no food.

17 Responses to Lost Ralph Hedley pictures

  1. Dennis Cory says:

    Are you looking for a Ralph Hedley oil painting, ca 1910; The Arch-Druid of Downing Street? I have it. It is of the Prime Minister Lloyd George, dressed in Druid Robe, playing a Harp, with the music titled, Land of My Fathers. It became a cartoon on September 21, 1910 in Punch, Or the London Chiavari. I can provide you pictures of this painting, kept in good condition in a gold frame at my home.

    • John Millard says:

      Hi Dennis.

      Thank you so much for the information on your Ralph Hedley picture. It sounds really interesting.

      How big is it? could you please send a measurement of the picture’s height and width? If you can measure the picture not the frame that is best.

      Is there a signature or other writing on the picture or the frame? Could you please make a note of any writing?

      Lastly, you say that you have photos. Could you send a photo please?

      It’s very exciting to know about your picture. I hope you don’t mind me asking for more information about it… and a photo!


      • Dennis Cory says:

        John Millard, hello it is nice to know of your interest in the Hedley satirical painting of Lloyd George. The size of the canvas is 14inches wide x 20 inches high. It has a gold leaf on gesso frame added to the orignal gold liner. It has Hedley’s lettering: The Arch-Druid of Downing Street. Good quality photos are available. It is currently listed for sale on Ebay. Contact me dmc1600@gmail.com in Florida. I can send a photo on email, just let me know how.

  2. Shaun Watson says:

    Greetings John or others. Discovered an R Hedley, watercolour and body colour over pencil recently and thought you may like to add its whereabouts to your database. Has found its way to Queensland Australia. It is called the miners. A beautiful characterisation of the diverse age of workers involved in the mining fraternity of your locality.

  3. John Millard says:

    Shaun Watson,

    Thank you for your comment and the information that you have a Ralph Hedley drawing that has made its way from Tyneside to Queensland. I’ll send tyou a separate e-masil with a couple of images of Hedley paintings of pitmen, and hope you may be able to send a photo of your picture.

    John Millard

  4. Bill Elliott says:

    Good evening,

    Just so that you might update your records I have a RH oil painting depicting a publican smoking his pipe outside a west end tavern. The picture is sighted and dated.
    I also ave a black and white photo of the pub in question circa 1910?
    If you interested I can bring to the gallery as I live in Hepscott, Morpeth.

  5. Caroline Dicker says:

    You may not be interested….In the painting Geordie had the Bairn, Ralph Hedley, my grandmother Annie Rutherford was the baby and my great grandfather was the pitman. My relatives are proud to stand in front of the painting in The Laing.

    • admin says:

      Hi Caroline, thanks for your post – it’s really interesting! My colleague Sam who works at the Laing Art Gallery would love to talk to you to get some more details. Is it ok if she emails you? thanks, Emma.

  6. Phil Carstairs says:

    Do you have any thing on the Ralph Hedley painting “Charity” painted in 1879? It is described in some detail in the Morpeth Herald 14/6/1879 when it was first exhibited. It apparently shows a woman and three children outside the Newcastle Soup Kitchen, probably the old Manors Police Station or a temporary building put up in 1879 between the demolition of the police station and the building of the current 1880 soup kitchen building in the Manors). I am researching Newcastle soup kitchens as part of my PhD and this picture would be enormously useful as I have not been able to find any other pictures of the old police station.

    • Sarah Richardson says:

      Dear Phil,
      I have consulted John, who wrote the blog. Unfortunately, we don’t have an image the painting ‘Charity’ or know where one is.
      Sorry not to be able to be of more help.

      • Phil Carstairs says:

        Just to say that the current owner of the painting has got in touch with me as a result of the blog and been very helpful in forwarding my research.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Phil. I think I may be of help. Are you still interested?

  7. Michelle says:

    Hi my parents have a Ralph Hadley painting, we had Ralph Hedleys great granddaughter Clodagh come up about 2 years ago to view this and authenticate the painting unfortunately she said she was very busy updating the web page and we have heard nothing else.

    • melvin longhurst says:

      Hello, please I am trying to research a very large oil painting that I believe may be by Ralph Hartley. I initially tried to do this via the Ralph Hartley Archive web site but sadly with no reply. I would therefore be most grateful if any one that may be able to help me with my research can kindly reply to this comment. Thank you

  8. Madeleine Longhurst says:

    Hi. I thought you may be interested that I’m the great great grandaughter of Thomas Irwin who was an apprentice of Ralph Hedley ( and who, along with his brother John, was a model for Hedley). Thomas Irwin was an amateur artist, and my mother Joyce Tebbutt ( ne Irwin) was a painter who exhibited widely in the Lake District and Cumbria. I have around 80 of her paintings.

  9. elena papazoglou says:

    hi – geordie had the bairn was owned by my grandparents Robert and Elizabeth Rutherford and was stolen from their house in a burglary in the 1980s. I believe it was found and is now kept at the museum for safety. Can you let me know more about this? Elena.

  10. barry colla says:

    Here’s my say on the subject- i like Ralph’s paintings but i have to say i’m more of a fan of his brothers work Johnson Hedley, we should be looking for his lost paintings.I found one of his a short while back ,a view of Marsden Rocks from the cliff tops.Even better than his brothers work in my opinion.Yes, lets track down Johnsons works.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *