Completed Portraits: British 19th C 29 Who painted this portrait of John Robert Kenyon (1807–1880)?

HSW_SHCC_E2777_024
Topic: Artist

Eden Upton Eddis exhibited a pastel of this sitter at the Royal Academy in 1870 as no. 844.

Kenyon was a lawyer and academic, Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, and Vinerian Professor of English Law from 1844. He appears in H. G. Hanbury, ‘The Vinerian Chair and Legal Education’, 1958. Two of Kenyon's direct descendants were famous people, Sir Frederick Kenyon and Dame Kenyon, so the literature on them may prove helpful.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The artist was identified as Jane Hawkins (1847–1904) and the portrait as a copy after Eden Upton Eddis.

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.

28 comments

Our contact at Shropshire Council replied: ‘Thank you for the information. Jane Hawkins, 1888 has been suggested as the artist but the RA exhibition pastel is an interesting clue. We know his father, Thomas Kenyon, was painted by Eden Upton Eddis in 1850 in a very similar setting.’ https://bit.ly/2MBmnh5

Following many months of pandemic restrictions, we had a further reply: ‘I have done some more digging and have found that the picture is listed in the Illustrated Catalogue of the Loan Exhibition of Shropshire Antiquities which took place in 1898 as "By E.U. Eddis". The work is shown on a photographic plate of the wall of portraits so we can be sure it is referring to the same painting. Therefore, I suspect that Eddis is probably the right attribution. Although the signature is still a bit of a mystery. Attached is the scan of the catalogue - see number E16 on plate and following catalogue entry.’

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The painting is signed and dated bottom right 'J. H ...kins 88' (?), partly hidden by red sealing wax that seems to cover an area larger than necessary for the one and a half missing letters (aw). The signature is clearer in the collection’s own image, which can be enlarged, and there’s a detail from our own TIFF file attached. Is this Jane Hawkins’ usual way of signing? There’s no evidence among the examples on Art UK, at least not in our images. https://bit.ly/3r3aXSa

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S. Elin Jones,

As unusual, and as complicated as it may sound, I think this painting may include a portrait inside of a portrait inside of a portrait.

*I think that ‘E128 Lord Kenyon Chief Justice’ in the Catalogue may be on the wall in the portrait of Thomas Kenyon by Eden Upton Eddis
and that...

*A mirror image of the portrait of Thomas Kenyon by Eden Upton Eddis (mirror image & full length) may be on the wall (including the portrait of Lord Kenyon Chief Justice, facing the correct way).
in this portrait of John Robert Kenyon.


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Kieran Owens,

That is a brilliant discovery.

John Robert Kenyon (1807-1880) was married to Mary Eliza Hawkins (1822-1903) on the 11th August 1846 at Tandridge, Surrey. She was the daughter of Edward Hawkins (1780 - 1867), Keeper of Antiquities at the British Museum. Perhaps it is a coincidence but there might be a family connection, if the signature is "J. Hawkins"

The intention of the 'J. Hawkins 88' inscription as a dated signature is clear, despite the second letter looking more like 'u' and the over-wide spacing caused by the artfully concealing splodge of sealing wax. It also looks like one in being along the edge of the document on which it is painted, not a title to it by being on a flat fold as for the one above.

Given that five of the six paintings by Jane Hawkins on Art UK are copies - which shows she did it regularly - the fact that an old local catalogue more focused on the subjects shown ascribes the painting to Eddis does not seem adequate countervailing proof that the hand is, rather than the original image being copied.

S. Elin Jones,

Thanks Mr Owens. Glad it didn’t sound quite as strange as I thought it would.

This discussion, "Who painted this portrait of John Robert Kenyon (1807–1880)?" has attracted six comments in the last five weeks. The portrait is signed, partly hidden, "J. Hawkins 88". It fits well with the established work of Jane Hawkins (1841-1904) as a copyist, as Pieter identifies (19 March). As such, subject to the agreement of the collection, I recommend that the portrait should be described as by this Jane Hawkins. Additionally, valuable information has emerged concerning the portrait within the portrait, seen on the back wall, thanks to Elin Jones (18 March).

Now that the collection has updated its records, this discussion can be closed as the work of Jane Hawkins (1841-1904) after Eden Upton Eddis.

Kieran Owens,

An 1835 lithograph, by W. D. after Eden Upton Eddis, of Edward Hawkins (1780 - 1867), aged 55, father of Kenyon's wife, is in the NPG collection:

https://bit.ly/3tkg55i

Kieran Owens,

Could this discussion be left open for a day or two more? I have some relevant additional material to offer, but cannot do so until tomorrow.

This discussion, "Who painted this portrait of John Robert Kenyon (1807–1880)?" has attracted seventeen comments in the last ten weeks. The portrait is signed, partly hidden, "J. Hawkins 88". It fits well with the established work of Jane Hawkins (1841-1904) as a copyist, as Pieter identifies (19 March). I recommend that the portrait should be described as by this Jane Hawkins. Additionally, valuable information has emerged concerning the portrait within the portrait, seen on the back wall, thanks to Elin Jones (18 March), as well as biographical details for this artist, thanks to Kieran Owens (31 May). The collection has already indicated its agreement. The discussion may now be successfully closed.

Note that Kieran's data above clearly identifies Jane Hawkins's birth date as 13 July 1847 (not 1841): could someone also produce an exact death date / place? The last mention so far is the 1898 census at 10 Walpole Street, Chelsea (which is probably only a street-numbering change from previous 5 Walpole Street mentions).

Kieran Owens,

I believe that Jane Hawkins moved from 5 to 10 Walpole Street at some time between 1891 and 1898 as other residents for other numbers on the street were listed in the electoral registers for those years as living at their same addresses, e.g. Mary Wiseman at no. 4. and Laura Gilpin at no. 16. etc...

Kieran Owens,

Jane Johnson's 'Works Exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists, 1824 - 1893' (Antique Collectors' Club, 1984) lists the works exhibited by Jane Hawkins from her addresses at 33, Smith Street and 5, Walpole Street. Would any contributor with a copy kindly post the relevant section from the book?

Kieran Owens,

Of the above it would also appear that between 1871 and 1874 Hawkins exhibited a series of paintings, including 'The Village Belle', 'The Sybil' and 'Une Paysanne' at the Society of British Artists' exhibitions at their Suffolk Street Galleries on Pall Mall.

Yes, apart from a miniature ('Faithful remembrance of one so dear' at 5 guineas) in 1873, all her SBA exhibits appear to have been generic figure subjects specifically noted as in watercolour and priced between 4 and 10 guineas. Her sister - whose name varies in the census returns from various spellings of 'Lizzie L.' to 'Louisa L.' also showed two landscape watercolours as 'Louise Hawkins' in 1880 and 1881 from 5 Walpole Street , respectively 'By the Wayside' and 'Keston Common' [Kent].

A brief in-office foray into Ancestry yielded no joy on an exact death date and place for Jane: Chelsea birth/baptism dates (and exact names) for 'Lizzie'/Louise - and a death/place date for her would also tidy that up.

Kieran Owens,

The artist Lizzy Louisa Hawkins, daughter of William John Hawkins (then a carver & guilder) and Jemima Nice, was born on the 12th November 1849 and, with an address at 11, Princess Street, Chelsea, London, was baptised on the 9th December 1849 at St. Luke's, Chelsea. A brother, William John Hawkins, a 'Commercial Clerk' in 1881 and a 'Stud Groom' in 1891, was born in Chelsea in 1852.