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The Rayners: Intro  //  Ann  Frances  Louise  Margaret  Nancy  Richard  Rose  Samuel  //  Known Paintings  Sources
Regional pages for Louise Rayner:   Scotland   Northern England   Wales and the west Midlands   South and South West
Eastern England   London and its Region   South Eastern England   Louise Abroad     Town pages:   Chester   Flint   Dudley


Page order:
   the two midland towns first: Derby and Warwick; then the more easterly towns, going north to south.

We originally believed that Louise Rayner painted only one view of Derby - the slightly faded one Irongate, Derby, below left, courtesy of Derby Museum and Art Gallery. Even when we realised we were seeing variations of the view, we thought that they might have been reworked from the same original studies. But once you see them together their dates are clearly different, though consistency of fashion (full dresses in both, even the woman in the carriage pulled by the white horse) suggests that it's not by a great margin. The church in the background is the Cathedral Church of All Saints - the smallest cathedral in England.

The painting below is dated 1865. We understand that the first shop on the left once belonged to John Drewry, a printer. But the painting shows the signboard of a later occupant, William Bemrose, who was also a printer and founded the Bemrose Corporation.

The larger picture, A View of Irongate, Derby, has a boarded and deteriorating building on the right that is obviously later, possibly around 1870-5. It also has a near-trademark for Louise - a horse-drawn cart coming right at the canvas, imparting life and energy to the scene. Information on the distant church would be welcome. A print is available from MyArtPrints

Irongate, Derby
   Irongate, Derby (2)

Louise did several paintings of Warwick but so far we've only seen the four here. The one at right, The East Gate Warwick was auctioned by Christies in July 1989 and looks up Smith Street from the St John's area of the city. Andy King points out that Louise used considerable artistic licence to increase the size of the East Gate and thus produce a much more interesting and dramatic view.

The painting below left has a very similar title: The East Gate at Warwick; the one on the right is St. Mary's Church from Church Street, Warwick. We have no date for either painting, but both were auctioned by Bonhams in June 2007, for about 5600 each.

The East Gate painting shows only a side portal of the gate. To see the whole of it as pictured by another artist sometime shortly before 1920, take a look at fromoldbooks. The building on top of the gate is a chapel to St. Peter, built in the reign of Henry the Sixth (1422-61). The West Gate has a similar chapel to St. James.
  East Gate Warwick

East Gate at Warwick   Church Street Warwick

Note that the Elizabethan houses are relatively clean-faced when Louise painted her view. By the beginning of the 1900s, the upper floors were heavily covered in Virginia Creeper, and by the end of the 1930s (or immediately after World War II) the ivy had been cleaned off completely.

St Mary's Church nave and tower were destroyed by the great fire of Warwick in 1694, but rebuilt in ten years. The church contains the Beauchamp Chapel, also painted by Louise. For a small charge you can apparently climb to the tower and enjoy the surrounding views of the countryside.

leycester's hospital, warwick Above, we have Leycester's hospital, Warwick. Despite the name, Lord Leycester's Hospital has never been about medical care. It takes the old definition of the word, being "a charitable institution for the housing and maintenance of the needy, infirm or aged" with the emphasis on former warriors and their wives. It was set up in Elizabeth the First's reign, was still that when Louise painted it (though we don't have a date for the painting) and remains so today. It is open to public visit. The main image here shows its rather dramatic position on the hill (perhaps enhanced by Louise!). Below are two details. At left, the struggle up the hill, emphasised by the fall-away from the pavement by the left-hand building and the obviously flatter land below. At right, the daily details that Louise was so fond of: people sitting or standing chatting while others get on with the daily chore of filling pails from the public water pump.

detail of the hill detail around the pump

We know the following paintings of Warwick exist, but have not seen them. We would welcome information about any of them - and especially images, of course!
   Interior of the Beauchamp Chapel, St. Mary's, Warwick (watercolour)
   Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick (oil, before 1877)       Smith Street, Warwick (before 1877)
   Friars' Street, Warwick.

Lincoln cathedral from the south LINCOLN
Lincoln obviously had more views and subjects for Louise, and Andy King informs us that she is thought to have made several trips to the city. She may well have visited Lincoln very early in her career (before 1850), as her father Samuel was a good friend of Peter DeWint, an artist particularly known for his watercolours of Lincoln.

Right: Lincoln Cathedral from the South - a quite dramatic view. Date not known.

Lincoln from the south

Lincoln Gate  

Louise did this pencil sketch of Lincoln from the south (above) and dated it August 25th 1864. At least one extant painting was probably derived from it.

Apart from the possible visit(s) with her father, Louise is also believed to have been in Lincoln in 1862, 1863 and 1864; and her paintings of the Water Conduit (see below) imply further visits in or shortly before 1881 and 1901.

At left: Lincoln Gate, with the distant grandeur of the cathedral looming over the Gate and the prosaic daily business in the foreground. Date not known, but the bustle of people suggests that Louise's career was getting well into its stride. Probably from 1863 or 1881; we'd favour the first.

Below: Figures by the Judgement Porch at Lincoln Cathedral was auctioned in July 2003 by Lawrences for 3500. The architect and his contemporary clients obviously had the fear of God in mind when they designed an entrance that so minimised the people walking through it - and then gave it a name like that. We don't have a date for it but the dress could be 1890s.

Lincoln Cathedral
English Street Scene Louise painted at least one other (very similar) view of the Cathedral entrance with the much less intimidating title of Figures outside the Angel Choir, Lincoln Cathedral but with a gravel forecourt and earlier period dress. This was possibly as early as the 1860s when Louise made several trips to Lincoln and certainly had the drive then to do the necessary studies to create a high quality rendition of the elaborately detailed stonework. The painting above probably shared those same studies, updated where necessary.

At right, the vaguely titled English Street Scene was offered for sale in the early 2000s by McTears for 1500-2000. It shows the water conduit at St Mary le Wigford, Lincoln, now a scheduled monument standing in front of the original Lincoln parish church of St Mary le Wigford (beside the railway line). The building supplied water to local inhabitants, and was built in 1540 following the dissolution of the Whitefriars, using stone from the friary buildings. There are four known paintings of the water conduit by Louise - 1901 (titled The Water Conduit at St.Mary le Wigford, Lincoln); two in 1881 (titled St. Mary's Conduit, Lincoln 1881 and merely The Conduit, Lincoln); and this one thought to date from her early visits of 1863 or 1864. We would welcome confirmation from anyone with more knowledge of the date. The dress fashion seems the best pointer, though local historians may pick up something from the buildings.

Closed till after church Our last view of Lincoln is this sketch circa 1863 of The Plough Boy Inn, 60 Burton Road, Lincoln. It is thought to be by Louise, though it's possibly by her brother Richard, and it's conjectured that Louise might have been staying opposite. The caption below the sketch reads "Closed till after Church". The Plough Boy (the "Inn" has been dropped) still exists and still sells drinks today.

So far we only have this one painting of Grantham by Louise, and it shows Grantham Market Place. A painting by Thomas Allom and T. Clark shows almost exactly the same view in 1837, but from a few steps back, and there is very little difference except that Louise widened the arch through the distant building where the coach is emerging. Allom & Clark also populated their view, and sitting on the steps of the market cross was as popular in their day as in Louise's! Apart from improving the road and the pavements (and in some cases renovating the buildings), the scene was still recognisable in Francis Frith photographs of 1893 and 1955, though we think that some of the buildings have been replaced in more recent times. In addition, Andy King informs us that lords of the manor twice took away the market cross, apparently for their own decoration. The first time was in 1779, when public outcry swiftly brought its return. The second time was in 1886, and it wasn't until 1914 that public protest finally succeeded in getting it back then. In the meantime, the cross was replaced by an obelisk which can be seen in the 1893 Frith photo mentioned above. We are unsure of the date of the painting, but ladies by the shop appear to have quite full dresses, and we would suggest the 1860s. As Louise made several trips to Lincoln in this period, it seems reasonable to suggest that this painting resulted from an excursion from the city or as the next stop on a tour.

Grantham Market
We have no Peterborough paintings to show, but we know that Louise painted a picture called Preparing for Petermas, Peterborough at some point before 1874, and we'd love to have an image of it!

Intriguingly, we found it hard to discover what Petermas was. Google had never heard of it (except as a reference back to this page), but older technology - the full Oxford English Dictionary on paper! - advised us that it was The Feast of St Stephen ad Vincula, held on 1st August each year. The reference linked it to an annual householder tax (on the wealthier) of 1 penny each year, gathered and forwarded to the Pope until the Reformation broke that link by statute in 1534. However, the institution of Peterpence traces back to Ine, King of Wessex 678-728 and to Offa, King of Mercia 755-794, so it certainly had a good run as taxes go! So this painting we haven't seen is presumably an imagination or a late occasion of the feast in Peterborough.

Gates of Magdelene College, Cambridge CAMBRIDGE
Anyone who knows Cambridge would understand its appeal to an artist, and we know Louise went there at least twice - in the early 1880s and again circa 1901. These dates are in line with Lincoln visits and may have been part of the same expeditions. On the right, we see Gates of Magdelene College, Cambridge, with Magdelene Bridge beyond which can also be found as a print entitled A View of Cambridge c.1880. Whilst confusing, they jointly confirm the period of the painting. It went on auction with Bonhams on February 28th 2007, but did not reach its reserve.

Altered signature It does have an added point of interest. The detail here at left shows the signature on the edge of the pavement, with a reversed 's' and other letters painted differently from their underlying lines. The painting previously went through a Christies sale in 1991 when it drew 2860, and the signature is (uncertainly) believed to have been like that then, so it's probably an original Louise error. It's rare but not unique in her work, and it's a possibility that she had a very mild touch of dyslexia.

Kings Parade Cambridge This view shows Kings Parade, Cambridge, which may not be its proper title. It also turns up as "Street Scene, Cambridge" - but so do other paintings. Kings College is out of sight behind the railings to the left. These have now gone, possibly as a contribution to the scrap metal drive in World War Two. Trinity Street continues ahead of us into the distance, and what we assume is St. Mary's Church dominates the picture to the middle right. The last-but-one shop to the right is a bookshop, with what looks like the proprietor lounging in the doorway, waiting for trade. Perhaps his great-grandson does it now! We don't have a date for this painting, but the fashions make it look Edwardian or very late Victorian. As Louise was in Cambridge in 1901, it could date from then.

Below we have Great St Mary's Church and Market Hill, Cambridge which was auctioned by Sotheby's in 2006 for 7200. CAM magazine (for Cambridge alumni) reproduced it with the following informative notes: "This enjoyable watercolour of Great Saint Mary's and Market Hill... most likely belongs to the 1870s. Why? Because Waterhouse's chateau style rebuilding of Caius was not completed until 1870 - and because not a bicycle can be seen. The University Bicycle Club was founded in 1874, and by the 1880s Cambridge was well on the way to becoming the home of the cycle." Our thanks to Sarah Garrett for drawing our attention to this - and adding evidence of a third visit to the city.

Great St. Mary's Church, Cambridge

Below, Louise had to do little more than turn her easel slightly to the left to paint more of Market Hill with Kings College looming from behind and just a fraction of Great St. Mary's Church visible at right. This picture is noticeably warmer than the one above, but we don't know if this is as Louise intended, or whether it has seen too much sun at some point in its life. It remains a pleasant image, though. We don't have an official title for this painting, but until we know better, we'll call it Market Hill and Kings College, Cambridge. The image comes to us courtesy of, which devotes itself to a love of Victorian and Edwardian paintings.

Market Hill and Kings College, Cambridge
Sidney Street, Cambridge   The painting at left was given the sale title of Cambridge - a busy street with the spire of the Catholic Church of our lady and the English martyrs. Mark Edwin Arstall says that what it actually offers is a view of Sidney Street, Cambridge at the junction with Petty Cury, along with the spire of Holy Trinity Parish Church and the Bank on the corner of Sidney Street. Typically, Louise has enhanced the view of the church in the background.

Mark adds: from the 1879 Post Office Directory we can identify Stevens the Saddler at No. 65 Sidney Street and Rogers the Watchmaker at No. 68. Riddle is a beer-seller in Petty Cury. And the church spire has spire-lights half way up, which Our Lady and the English Martyrs does not (the little turret may be a mistake).

We are also aware of the following paintings of Cambridge, but have not seen them. We would welcome information about any of them - and especially images, of course:

Entrance to Jesus College, Cambridge
King's Chapel, Cambridge
St. Michael's Church, Trumpington Street, Cambridge
Street Scene, Cambridge

Harry Drummond, January 2015.
DudleyMall pages about Louise:
Louise at Dudley - Front page introduction, Dudley, link to Richard Rayner's work at Dudley.
Louise Rayner - the main biography, listing some of her early paintings
Louise at Chester - where Louise made her home and did some of her best work.
Louise at Flint - her drawings for Henry Taylor's book.

Louise on expedition:

North to South progression, West before East
Louise in Scotland - Edinburgh
Louise in Southern Scotland - Roslin Chapel (we have no other Scottish paintings at present)
Louise in Northern England - York... Selby... Beverley... Durham
Louise in Wales and the west Midlands - Conway... Ludlow... Gloucester
Louise in the South and South West - Oxford... Chippenham... Salisbury
Louise in Eastern England - Lincoln... Derby... Cambridge
Louise in London and its region - Temple Bar, Drury Lane, Holborn, Greenwich, Eton and Windsor
Louise in the South East - Tunbridge Wells, Knole, Herstmonceux, Canterbury, Hastings... more
Louise Abroad - Rheims, Nuremberg, Bruges... and possibly Venice
In preparation: - The Rayners at Windsor

Please note: we claim no art expertise, and in no way do we offer provenance for any paintings. What you see here was compiled out of interest in Louise Rayner's paintings and those by her family, but is based on sometimes very fragmentary evidence. It is thus inevitable that there will be errors, though we naturally correct these when we can.

We would gratefully receive any information or corrections that will help us to fill the gaps and resolve unproved links - for example confirmation of dates of birth, death, etc., and details of other addresses the family lived at (and roughly when). Images of any of the family's paintings are also very welcome. And we thank the many people who have already contributed to these pages. You have helped to make these pages what they are. Thank you all!

Copyright 2015 DudleyMall.

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