Dress and Textiles, East Midlands: Artists and Subjects, Portraits: British 19th C 12 Did Eden Upton Eddis paint this portrait of brewer and politician Michael Thomas Bass?

Topic: Artist

This article from the Derby Mercury dated 30th November 1870 indicates that the artist was ‘Mr Eddies’.

Art UK adds: Could this be Eden Upton Eddis (1812–1901)?

Paul Kettlewell, Entry reviewed by Art UK


Martin Hopkinson,

It would be worth checking the exhibition catalogues of the Birmingham Academy of Arts, now the Royal Birmingham Society of Arts

Martin Hopkinson,

compare the sitter's left hand in Eddis' later portrait of Baron Cottesloe- 1881 [County Hall Aylesbury]

Angela Lennox,

Looking at the hands, hair, eyebrows and chair, I would say they were the same artist. The chair in another portrait by Eddis below, shows a taller version of the chair. The light is painted the same and the woodwork has a similar depth of colour to it revealing the wear and patina of tactile use.
The hands are painted beautifully and the right hand looks as if it is about to move. I enjoy this artist and think he unveils real character of the sitter in his work although he has a mixed bag. Some of his early artwork has a weird single dimension to it compared to his later work.

I think we need some more information about this painting if we are going to seek an attribution to Eddis. Is there anything on the back--labels, marks of any kind, etc? Hopefully the collection might look at the work and let us know.

Martin Hopkinson,

However, we do have the newspaper report. If is not by Eden Upton Eddis, we need to find another candidate of a similar name - a wife, child or relative perhaps. The artist was reasonably proficient and unlikely to be an amateur given the standing within the community.

Martin Hopkinson,

An earlier half length oil portrait of Bass by a different artist can be found on Grace's Guide to British Industrial History

Here attached. Agreed, Martin, that Eddis is likely. But if this was an honorific portrait of an important member of the community, there should be some indication of the artist (even though these identifications can go astray) attached to the painting in some form (or in the records concerning the painting). Perhaps if we knew that the collection/museum had obtained the portrait from the Town Hall in Derby (where, according to the newspaper article, it had been placed in the Council Chamber from 1870 onward), it would give additional support to the attribution.

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Andrea Kollmann,

The Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal (Nov, 25th, 1870) reported about "The portrait of Mr. Bass, painted by E.U. Eddis, ...".

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Q.E.D. Interesting sitter: declined all public honours in the 'Beerage' for his philanthropy, which (though only partly for that reason) saw his equally philanthropic son Michael Arthur Bass MP first become a baronet and later 1st Baron Burton or Rangemore and Burton-on-Trent, Staffs. The Bass legacy of fine late Victorian/Edwardian brewery and other building there is still evident despite systematic 're-development' wrecking in the town in the 1960/70s, effectively stopped from becoming more complete by the Civic Society active at that time, especially a man called Jim Lloyd (who I remember). Rangemore Hall was demolished, but its still an attractive red-brick estate village largely built by Michael Arthur, though I last saw it before the National Football Academy was built nearby....

Martin Hopkinson,

I do wonder if this is not the prime version of the portrait by Eddis as its quality seems to be a little below that of many of his portraits

Martin, I'm glad you said it. Most of Eddis's output seems more accomplished than the picture under discussion. Let's keep trying to get some more information. It does seem clear that there was a portrait of Bass by Eddis once in the Council Chamber in Derby but whether this is it is another question. Can the collection give any further information?

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