Photo credit: Atkinson Art Gallery Collection
This photograph on Flickr https://bit.ly/3EQ8m4W seems to show the same scene. It is part of a set of photos that appear to be associated with Francis Reily. I am in contact with the person who posted them on Flickr, who says that the plates are in their attic and thinks that there's a family connection with the Reilys. The owner of the photos has captioned them ‘Herefordshire’. However, I think that's because one of them is identified as showing the Wye in Herefordshire in the caption to a greetings card https://bit.ly/3k5pmws). I think that the album as whole https://bit.ly/3nX8QzK may range quite widely geographically.
This discussion is now closed. The location was successfully identified and the title of the work has been amended to 'Bridge over the River Greta, Burton in Lonsdale, North Yorkshire'. The artist’s dates have been updated to additionally record Reily’s death in 1928. Pieter van der Merwe’s new artist biography will now be reviewed with the Editorial team and then incorporated on to the Art UK site.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.
The Collection have commented: ‘We would be very happy for a public discussion if that would help to determine the location of this work. We note that SOPAG 1838 https://bit.ly/3q5dbn3 is identified as 'Eardisland, Herefordshire'. This looks like the same scene as SOPAG:1837 https://bit.ly/3q89JIh [and the same brick building, the Eardisland dovecote, features more prominently in SOPAG: 1834 https://bit.ly/3k3C8vl, whilst this painting SOPAG: 1841 https://bit.ly/3BOvqiS looks like it shows the same village, bridge and river as the painting in question]
It seems to me that the photograph at https://bit.ly/3EQ8m4W is almost certainly the same view as depicted by Francis Reily in the work under discussion. It may well be the case that image https://bit.ly/3BOvqiS also depicts the same location, but from a different aspect, as the bridge appears to be very similar. However, I am not at all sure that the location is Eardisland as the bridge there appears to have two arches only and there are three arches on the bridge visible in the painting under discussion. The river also appears to be much wider in our painting than is the case at Eardisland. It would help if someone with local knowledge could comment.
One of the other photographs in the series is identified as the River Greta in Cumbria with Ingleborough in the background https://www.flickr.com/photos/foundin_a_attic/33370221235/in/album-72157678930580912 and Ingleborough looks remarkably like the hill that can be seen faintly in the background of both this picture and the photograph associated with it. I'm not familiar with that area at all so I can't suggest a candidate for the bridge.
The bridge is possibly this one in Burton In Lonsdale: the round turrets on the bridge piers are the same as those in the photograph:
Brenda, if the latter, then superficially at least this photograph https://bit.ly/3kd8jse shows a wide river, three arches and road with wall right next to the river, not too much unlike the vantage point of https://bit.ly/3BOvqiS. Might all be coincidental. Wonder if Burton in Lonsdale features in the photographs in the series. David
I think Ingleborough is about 8 miles distant from Burton in Lonsdale so it is quite possible that both feature in this group of photographs.
Under the "Ingleborough" photograph is a comment pointing to this Street View of Bentham Moor Road in Burton in Lonsdale, just down the road from this bridge: https://email@example.com,-2.517184,47.67h,-6.06p,1z,TM-qDYLI1RwfAyDIOigKig
I can't find a view of the bridge from a direction that would show Ingleborough in the background, but it's clearly close by.
A side point, but Ancestry (see attached) confirms that Reilly died in 1928, which is presently not recorded. On the 1891 census he was living in Southport (North Meols) and worth considering that the three children shown in a photograph with a lady could have been his first three children, Sydney, Eric and Dennis, so dating that photograph at least to the late 1890s. This perhaps suggests the lady was his mother, Emma, born 1823, and not his wife Minnie, born 1859.
Brenda, if in Street View you go back on Bentham Moor Road to the bridge in Burton, cross the bridge to the N side, and immediately look right along the cul-de-sac Brookland, there is Ingleborough peering through the trees. A check on a large scale map confirms the direction.
David's vantage point for https://bit.ly/3BOvqiS is a steep bank a few clicks down the unnamed road that continues across the crossroads from Bentham Moor Road, on the S side of the river.
The modern houses and trees in this area are not helpful to further matches.
Two pictures identified in one go. Well done both of you.
The credit should really go to the unidentified Flickr contributor who recognised Ingleborough in the photograph and posted that Streetview link. Looking through the photographs it looks quite likely that others may be in the Burton area rather than Herefordshire. Do we know when the artist may have visited Burton?
Francis Reily exhibited paintings in the period 1884 to 1919, including one at the Royal Academy in 1903. He was recorded as a miniature painter and art teacher at Southport School of Art. In 1903 he was living in Forest Road, Southport, Lancashire, so a trip to Burton in Lonsdale would have been relatively local for him. See also David Saywell's post of 06/11/21 on the Southport connection.
Two adjoining photos in the Flickr album are of the same oil painting by Reily that illustrates the Christmas card: it's possibly of the distinctive hill mentioned above from the far side: this is one of them
and the card
This photo is of another painting:
This one may be the man himself
(The solo shot of the boy, presumably one of his sons, has a resemblance: https://www.flickr.com/photos/foundin_a_attic/32555872923/in/album-72157678930580912/)
If the older lady shown is Reily's mother she died in 1912 (though might be his wife's) but the dress and the ages of the children shown -all boys of which he had four, b. 1892-1901 - suggests the pictures were taken about 1908-10.
The first two photos are definitely not the other side of Ingleborough, which is classic Pennine hill country. I believe they are of the Wye Valley as stated.
They may show Symonds Yat rock as it used to appear. Virtually every conceivable image search produces the view *from* the Yat rather than *of* it. It is a tourist attraction. Thus it is hard to be certain of the identification.
Thanks Malcolm - I missed the caption.
To wrap up, may I suggest?
Bridge over the River Greta, Burton in Lonsdale, North Yorkshire
View above the River Greta, Burton in Lonsdale, North Yorkshire
The three images mentioned in David's first post certainly show Eardisland Dovecote (https://www.eardisland.org.uk/index.php/our-parish/buildings-features/dovecote). Thus the surmise that the Reily photo album covers a wide geography - and hence probably a wide era - is supported.
Malcolm, thank you very much for your post. I think there is broad agreement that the two river scenes depicting a bridge with three arches are both of the River Greta at Burton in Lonsdale. Originally this discussion focused on the painting 'Village, a Bridge and a River' (SOPAG:1851) to which as a result of this discussion we added informally 'Landscape with a House, a Bridge and a River' (SOPAG:1841), in order to assist the Atkinson in the identification of paintings bequeathed to them in 1983 by Amy Reily (presumably the artist's daughter). Of those eleven paintings five had identified locations. Perhaps they had been inscribed by the artist. Personally, I would prefer to wait a week or two before winding up this discussion as it would help if in the meantime we had input from contributors with good knowledge of the Burton in Lonsdale area. I have in mind in particular two further Francis Reily paintings 'Landscape with Buildings' (SOPAG:1836) and 'Derelict House' (SOPAG:1842) which look to me to be paintings from the same area. While we are reviewing the work of Francis Reily I think it would be worthwhile, if straightforward, in trying to tie up up any further loose ends.
Johnson & Greutzner note Reily as in 'London 1884' and at 'School of Art, Southport' in 1890: and as exhibiting at the Birmingham Royal Society of Artists (3), the Walker AG in Liverpool (4) and the RA (1) all with an end date of 1919.
As already noted, his RA appearance was in 1903, but none of the others explain what 'London, 1884' means in the biographical section of the entry. Can anyone clarify that?
In the 1881 census he is already a 23-year-old 'Teacher Art Master' apparently still at his parental home of 16 Weston Road, Handsworth (between Birmingham and West Bromwich). He married Minnie Amy Taylor at W. Brom. in the third quarter of 1890, perhaps when already at the Southport School of Art, though his first address in that area in the 1891 census is at North Meols, some distance to the north-east. Both the 1891 and 1901 census describe him as 'Art Master School' and he lived the rest of his life in Southport.
His immediately younger sister, Alice Louisa, also seems to have been artistic: J&G list her as showing 8 works at Birmingham between 1899 and 1910, all from 16 Weston Road, Handsworth, which probably remained their widowed mother's house after the 1887 death of their father - a hardware and saddlery merchant acc. the 1881 census.
Pieter, I think the London reference probably relates to his time studying at the National Art Training School, South Kensington. In his paintings he often signed his work with his name followed by his qualification A.R.C.A. As you will be aware the name of the NATS changed to the Royal College of Art in 1896.
The Year's Art for 1885 records F. Reily at 12 Drayton Gardens, West Brompton. It also shows that he exhibited two works at the Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham, in Autumn 1884.
Thanks: I wasn't aware of that and misled by the ARCA on his undoubtedly post-1890 and probably early 20th-century Christmas card as meaning 'Associate of the Royal Cambrian Academy'. He's not on the Academy's online list of them but it is just of names, not associated dates and - given there is no statement as to its completeness or not - looks rather short.
Is that -at least so far - the sole reason to infer he was at NATS, for whatever period it might have been?
Yes Pieter, the term ARCA is confusing! I think in more recent times members of the Royal Cambrian Academy have the letters RCamA after their name whereas at the time Francis Reily was working it was simply RCA for full members or as you say ARCA for associates. I don't have a list of students who received diplomas from South Kensington. The reasons for me suggesting that he was ARCA (London) rather than ARCamA are firstly that in 1884 he was living in lodgings off the Old Brompton Road, not far from the schools in South Kensington. NATS ran a course for students seeking to qualify as art teachers. As we know he subsequently taught at Southport School of Art. I have quite a large number of old catalogues for the Royal Cambrian Academy and Francis Reily does not appear to have exhibited there. I checked the catalogue for 1929 and there is no reference to his death in the previous year 1928. Also the Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940 (which included exhibitions at the RCamA) has no record of any RCamA exhibits by Francis Reily. My virtually complete run of copies of the Year's Art also listed RCamA exhibits annually but there are none for Mr Reily. Thus I concluded that he must have been ARCA (Lond).
Thanks for the clarification: here's a biographical draft based on what we have so far.
Pieter, thank you for the excellent biography. Two points if I may. There is a typo at para 3, line 3, which I think is intended to read 1919. Second, I think I should have explained previously how The Year's Art presented the information recorded. It was first published in 1880 and I believe the editorial decision taken at the time was to only list in the artist 'directory' the names and addresses of artists who had exhibited at leading UK art institutions in the previous year. Although policy changed some years later to leave names and addresses in place for non exhibiting artists, in those early years inclusion in the directory was linked almost entirely to the artist's address and exhibition record for the previous year. Thus the 1885 edition of The Year's Art showed FR's address in 1884 (12 Drayton Gardens) taken from the Birmingham exhibition catalogue of that year. However, it shouldn't be inferred from this that FR spent only one year at NATS. So he could well have studied there from say 1883 to 1885 or 1886, but was not listed in The Year's Art for years other than 1885 for the reason given above.
Thanks Grant: corrected. When this closes I can re-post with anything else that appears.
Thanks for the informative write-up, Pieter. Here is some information about Minnie Amy Reily (née Taylor). I have attached her record in the 1939 England and Wales Register. Two of her children resided with her: Amy Lilian Reily, who was a schoolteacher, and Sydney Frank Reily (1892–abt 1968), who was “incapacitated”. I suspect that Minnie was the daughter of the solicitor Reuben Taylor and his second wife, Marianne Taylor (née Price). Only the first of two pages for Minnie’s family in the 1881 England Census for Handsworth is attached due to space.
As we seem to be compiling a biographical entry for Francis Reily, perhaps we should also add "Old Watermill (locality unknown) whereabouts of painting unknown" to the catalogue! Noted by Pieter, https://www.flickr.com/photos/foundin_a_attic/33370198845/in/album-72157678930580912/
Thanks again Marcie: there's no apparent WWI war record for Sydney Frank Reily (1892-1968) to account for his 'incapacity' so its probably best left at that: he's presumably the eldest boy, shown on his own in the photo album. Unless there's a family reason to keep it, the Atkinson AG might be good place for that to end up, as supporting material for its cache of Reily paintings.
Updated Reily biography attached: any further tweaks will only go to Art UK as amended file copy.
Pieter, on behalf of everyone interested in the life and work of Francis Reily, thank you for the time and effort you have put into the biography.
This discussion falls between so many Groups - technically Yorkshire should also be added too - but I have initially asked Manto, as Group Leader covering the North West and Andrew if they wished to provide a Group Leader recommendation, but mentioning that you Grant have been very active in this discussion to date.
I am very happy to propose that the painting be retitled 'Bridge over the River Greta, Burton in Lonsdale, North Yorkshire'. Thanks to everyone, especially Brenda Lambourne, who first recognised the location, Pieter and Grant who contributed to the biography of the artist.
I have attached an article from the ‘Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser’ of October 18, 1902, that mentions a work by Reily called ‘In Lonsdale’ at the first exhibition of the Southport Art Association.
Thanks Marcie. That at least confirms he did do miniatures on a more regular basis than the one RA example of his mother suggests and adds Shropshire (Church Stretton) to Hereford, Lancs and Yorks as counties depicted in his work, though there were probably others.
I am more than happy to support Andrew's suggestion that the painting is retitled 'Bridge over the River Greta, Burton in Lonsdale, North Yorkshire'. Can I also extend my thanks to everyone for such a detailed discussion. In addition, many thanks are due to Grant for stepping in as well as Pieter for contributing to the artist biography. David, I think we can close this now.
Manto, many thanks for this. I have asked the Curator if they would agree with retitling the work, but, if it were a historically recorded title, if they are happy with the location suggested being recorded in the artwork description field instead. Regards, David
Stephen Whittle, Principal Manager, The Atkinson, has commented: 'I’m happy to go with the title, 'Bridge over the River Greta, Burton in Lonsdale, North Yorkshire'. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion.'