Completed East of England and The Midlands: Artists and Subjects, Portraits: British 19th C, Portraits: British 20th C, Sculpture 24 Can we establish the sculptor of ‘The Crimean Veteran’?

Topic: Artist

Claude W. S. Hudson exhibited ‘A Crimean veteran’ - bust, bronze as no. 1765 in the Royal Academy in 1907 [address given ‘Museum Studio, Cole-Park, Twickenham. [Alistair Brown, Art Detective, added ‘A Claude William Smith Hudson (1867-1943) living in the Twickenham area is mentioned in this biography of another artist’ ] [Group leader: Katharine Eustace]

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

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Kieran Owens, Art Detective contributor, noted separately that there appeared to be a signature or markings on the back of the sculpture, and from the attached image, commented ‘definitely looks like a purposeful marking, so perhaps the artist's monogram device of someone holding a pitchfork or a trident, or else a Christian name initial on the extreme left and a surname initial 'E' on the extreme right.’

The Collection have commented: 'We’ve just checked our accession register, and found some further info that you could also include: we acquired it in 1957 – or rather we were originally presented with two of them according to the note in the register , they are both listed as ‘Two bronze heads of the ‘Crimean Veteran’ , each mounted on a Genoa-green marble plinth’. However, one was sent to New Zealand at the donor’s request as ‘ [the donor] …who paid for the casting of both’. So we know when they were cast - c.1957, which could suggest that they were a copy. There is no mention of the artist's name in the register. '

That is a great piece of research by Alistair but when I looked up the artist Claude William Smith Hudson he doesn't appear to have an exhibition record apart from the RA exhibit of 1907. The artist who may be more likely is the established Edinburgh based sculptor David Alexander Francis, ARSA (1886-1930). In 1921 he exhibited as catalogue number 32 a bronze titled 'A Crimean Veteran' at the Royal Scottish Academy. D A Francis has one work on Art UK but unfortunately it is not illustrated.

Grant, I have emailed the Royal Scottish Academy to see if they have a digital image of that work that they might be able to share with this discussion. David

Marcie Doran,

Just a heads up that I have ordered the probate record (1961) of Emily Gertrude Sothern (née Hudson)(1861-1945) who was the sister of Claude William Smith Hudson (as stated in the introduction to this discussion). Claude’s probate record shows that his sister administered his estate. An article from 1945 (attached) states that probate for her estate was originally granted to Cyril F. [Frank] Woodbridge and Robert W. Woodbridge. On Ancestry, the Woodbridge brothers have ties to Australia.

Another possibility is John Kilgour Baker as shown in this extract of an article in 'The Scotsman' of February 21, 1913. He had "an interesting bust of a Crimean veteran" in the Stirling Fine Art Exhibition in 1913. He was an art master who, tragically, was killed in action on October 9, 1918, in France.

Andrew Shore,

Looking at Ancestry records, the donor would therefore be Rosa Kathleen Blake (nee Peake) who married William John Bailey Blake in 1923. He died in 1957 and she's on the probate as his widow. In the 1911 Census she was listed as an art teacher, living in Twickenham, about a mile away from Claude Hudson (who was a Civil Servant Inspector (Art)). So perhaps there is a connection?

Andrew, that is excellent information. I have looked again at the name Claude William Smith Hudson and it very much appears that one work only was exhibited in his name, that being the sculpture shown at the Royal Academy in 1907. I have checked my volumes of The Year's Art for that period and in the comprehensive list of artists CWSH pops up in the 1908 volume as an exhibitor at the RA the previous year. His address was given as Museum Studio, Cole Park, Twickenham. CWSH appears in The Year's Art of 1909 but without any exhibits. He then disappears from sight in subsequent volumes and as far as I can tell, he didn't exhibit anywhere else. My theory, for what it is worth, is that he may have been an exhibition agent and that he entered this sculpture on behalf of the sculptor, presently unidentified. The Year's Art usually carries names forward for years even when an artist isn't exhibiting regularly. Mr Hudson's name was removed by them very promptly. Apart from Mr Hudson, the two artists known currently to have exhibited a bronze of 'A Crimean Veteran' are John Kilgour Baker (as researched by Marcie) and David Alexander Francis, ARSA, both Scots.

Jacob Simon,

William John Bailey Blake was a photographer, many of whose photos belong to the Potteries Museum.

Marcie, thank you. The sculpture is listed as exhibit number 2162 under the title 'Veteran aus dem Krimkrieg' and with Mr Hudson's name and address in Twickenham. It appears in an international art exhibition catalogue for a show in Munich in 1909. So what we can deduce from this is that the bronze was not sold at the RA in 1907 as it appeared again in a show in Germany in 1909. Personally I would be much more comfortable about C W S Hudson being the sculptor of 'our' bronze if other examples of his work were available for comparison.

I have had a good look at the records held on Ancestry for Claude William Smith Hudson, born 1867 in Stepney, died in Salisbury 1943, unmarried. His family lived at The Lilies, Whitton Road, Twickenham for decades, which appears to be a private address. The 'Museum Studio' may have been nearby in Cole Park Road, Twickenham, which is very close to Whitton Road, and quite near to the J M W Turner Museum also in Twickenham. I don't know if CWSH was involved in a public capacity with the Turner Museum. The material census records are: 1891, CWSH age 24, art student; 1901 CWSH Art Inspector, Board of Education; 1911 Civil Servant, Inspector of Art; 1921 Census- I don't have access (has anyone got access please?) 1939 England & Wales Register, age 67, single, Retired H M Inspector. It seems to be the case that Claude Hudson remained as a full time civil servant during his working life, with responsibilities for, I think, Art Education. Perhaps he inspected the quality of teaching in art schools and reported thereon?

Osmund Bullock,

Grant, re the 1921 Census, I think anyone can access it at Findmypast, though you have to register if you're not a subscriber like me. But whoever you are you have to pay the same - £3.50 to see the original image, £2.50 for a transcript. I think the the top-tier level of subscription (to all their records worldwide) gets you a small discount, but it's not much.

Osmund, thank you very much for setting that out. In this instance I probably won't access the 1921 Census as I am reasonably confident that we won't learn anything new about Claude Hudson.

If I may test your patience, on another discussion 'Remembrance' involving Deal Castle / Walmer Castle, would you mind setting out there the challenges faced by experienced researchers such as yourself in accessing national and/or local newspaper articles from long ago? I imagine that some records have been transferred to digital format but presumably many have not? Is that why we may not be able to access certain articles of particular interest to us but can find others that are not helpful? Does it mean physical searches in local libraries etc would be necessary to obtain results?

Martin Hopkinson,

Kentish newspapers 2 years ago when I last was able to get to the British Library to access digitised newspapers were not well covered - but things may have changed. Liverpool was another very black spot
Maidstone is the main centre for Kentish material
Dover would be the local library which might have something . The main centre for Thanet newspapers is Margate which did not have digitised newspapers 2 years ago
There is an online catalogue for the whole of Kent [Maidstone based] - but I do not know what digitised material it includes

Martin Hopkinson,

Dover Express can be consulted in microform as can East Kent Mercury - when next I am in my local Broadstairs Library I wil try to establish in which this is the case - and of course the dates covered