August/ September, 2017
Having no reports of talks and visits this month, it is hoped that the following extract will find favour with you.
From Memories of Kington by William Edwards
Remembering a Kington Artist
- Mr. Charles Job Humphreys, A.R.A., was a printer and bookbinder, bookseller, etc., and owner of the Kington Gazette. He had a high and deserved reputation as a portrait painter. In the magistrates’ room at the Police Station you may see one of his paintings, a police magistrate who lived 100 years ago. He told me he was commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Hawkins in the Grammar School, but he could make nothing of it. Would I have a look at it. I found it in a deplorable state, for it seemed to me that the old boys had made a target of it. Many years later I visited Hampton Court (1916) where I saw a vast number of ladies’ portraits of bygone reigns exhibited and stored. I did not see Lady Hawkins’s portrait, but I feel sure it was there. I saw very little difference in all the ladies of the Elizabethan age.
Mr. Humphreys borrowed from Lord Oxford of Eywood one of his very valuable paintings so that he might paint a copy, and he lent him his favourite painting “Lady Oxford and her Child.” The young lady became Lady Langdale, who in 1869 sent five or six of her paintings to be cleaned, in which duty I was called to help him. At the time I was his printer’s devil, dating from 1868. I had no idea that the paintings were worth thousands. After putting them to soak, he said “Give me down Lady Oxford.” I wondered what he would do to it as I understood he had finished it years ago. I watched him take it out of the frame and paint in blue the name of the painter of the original. I quarrelled with him for not putting his own name. He laughed heartily at my earnestness and explained fully that it was a copy only, and he put the artist’s name in so that in time to come it might be sold for thousands. I made mental reservations, but I did not buy it. A lady bought it for 30s. Later she sold it for 3.15s., and the buyer sent it to London where it was sold for £2,800. (I write from memory.) Naturally his daughters were vexed because they had passed through years of scarcity, but had recently received welcome news of an allowance from Australia. Probably from Mr. Hall or her nephews, Harold and John Humphreys, when the Mount Morgan gold mines were sold. Miss Humphreys wrote me a long letter asking to do what I could, if the painting was sold publicly, to keep her father’s name before the public as the real painter. I never told them that I saw him paint the name. I have the letter, but cannot get it just now to give fuller details.
An amusing incident occurred when Mr. Bufton, of Lyonshall Post Office, had his portrait painted and I took it over one Sunday afternoon. Everybody who then saw it said it was very life-like. It was really an excellent likeness, yet two weeks later he called and said many folk said it was a failure. Will you touch it up, Charles, just a bit? So, back it came, and I hung it up for six weeks, when he called for it. He was delighted and so were his daughters and friends. It had never been touched.
Books and Bric-a-Brac sale Monthly at the Museum.
To assist funding, the KHS runs a stall every third Saturday to help with the (heavy) expenditure of both the Museum and the Society. If you have any items which you can spare, please get on the phone to Julia, number above, who will give you further particulars. The stall is situated under the Museum’s canopy, so you can be sure that your offerings do not get wet. Any items more suitable for St. Michael’s Hospice will be transported there by Julia. Come along about 10.30.
Talk 15th September; visit to Parkstile on 16th.
Our next visit is to Parkstile Cottage in Lyonshall on 16th September, followed by tea in the cottage. If you would like to join us please phone Nancy on 01544 230691 as soon as possible.
The evening before, 15th September, Sue Gee will be talking about the research into her novel “Mysteries of Glass” in the Lyonshall area, which starts in Parkstile Cottage. The talk will be at 7.30 in Kington Primary School as usual. Do come and join us – members are free, visitors £2, which includes tea or coffee and biscuits.
As was mentioned at our recent meeting, we would also welcome more members on the committee, in particular with arranging future speakers and visits. Do phone if you feel you can help. Thank you.
Owing to increases in all our expenditure, the subs. are changing (euphemism!) on October 1st.