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Rayner Biography: 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

LOUISE RAYNER in the SOUTH and WESTERN ENGLAND

This page is a direct continuation of Louise in Wales and the west Midlands (here),
hence the lack of introduction!


OXFORD

Oriel College Oxford

Above: the only picture we currently have of Oxford is this painting of Oriel College. A modern-day photograph used for comparison (see louiserayner.co.uk/oxford.php) shows how the church has been pulled forward into her composition to add drama - something she was fond of, for example in her Chester paintings. What it also shows is that the buildings have barely changed, but this (apparently) tranquil scene has been violated by modern paint schemes and the needs of modern traffic. Of course, Louise could impose tranquillity by omitting what she didn't want - like bustling horse and cart traffic squeezing down the narrow streets, and the smells of horse dung and poor drains - so comparisons need to be made with care!

Oriel College Oxford The quality of the painting is sufficient that we can close in on the details. The first view (right) shows a mix of life - handling a horse in the foreground with lecturers and possibly students nearby. Then a window cleaner, perhaps. Beyond them a man drives a horse and open carriage, there are ladies with parasols, and in the distance a woman in a red dress.

The lower scene is the left foreground of the painting - a lecturer possibly talking to the parents of a student while boys play with a dog and two adults look on from the other side of the street - one possibly resting from carrying her baskets. Note the lampost in the middle of the street, the dishevelled road surface, and how well executed the fence is.


Oriel College Oxford
Please note: if you've encountered a street scene with soaring twin church towers, entitled "Oxford", someone made a terrible guess. You will find it where it belongs - with other paintings of York in Louise in Northern England!

CHIPPENHAM
Chippenham Market Day 1865
We've known about this painting - Chippenham Market Day 1865 - for some time as a consequence of finding the small mono image on Chippenham's local government site (Wiltshire). At least two paintings exist showing very much the same view but with a different arrangement of figures. This one strikes us as the more attractive of the two.

The Baltimore Museum of Art contacted us in late summer 2007 to ask for identification. As they rightly said, the lack of a distinctive church or other unique feature could well have rendered the scene anonymous, and we've certainly had trouble with others. But this one was immediately identifiable for the reason already given. [Image courtesy of The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Rhoda Oakley, Baltimore BMA 1997.310.]

If there are other viewpoints of Chippenham, we don't know them, but would be very happy to learn of them. But there is one more painting of the market place. This one is called Market Day Ashbourne, Derbyshire, but it doesn't take more than a moment to realise that it is a mistitling for Chippenham. The modern Rayner family have tried - without success - to get this corrected. Chippenham dressed as Ashbourne
The reason for apparent intransigence is thought to be "provenance", the art world's sales history defence against spurious works being passed off as genuine. Retitling the picture would break the provenance chain and put its value severely at risk. So it's still called Ashbourne - and it still shows Chippenham! And if you want Chippenham and like this particular view, you could get a print from several art print suppliers such as EasyArt when this page was first written. If it's still available, just make sure they don't print a spurious identity on it!

Salisbury in the mist   SALISBURY
In July 2007, Chris Bullivant sent us photographs of his miniature Louise Rayner painting of Salisbury seen in the mist. He says the original is only 2.5 inches by 4 inches (62mm by 100mm). We don't have an official title for this - it may just be Salisbury, and we have no further hints on the date or circumstances.

Andy King's thoughts on it are "I guess it was painted in the early morning from Louise's room on one of her stays (perhaps a Sunday as I can almost hear the bells - which may have startled the pigeons or rooks!)... I haven't seen this before and I expect it could be a one-off which makes it all the nicer."

Below: Castle Street, Salisbury in 1870, with the cathedral in the background. Other images of the same painting show that this one has been cropped slightly at left, more substantially in the foreground (the horse does have legs!), and a whole building has disappeared from the right. The picture was kindly forwarded by Debbie Roberts; she was foraging for paintings for her family history in South Petherton, Somerset - which we'll shortly come to.
Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Castle Street
Salisbury Castle Street snip
Salisbury High Street north
A calmer and crisper view of the same scene went to Christies in December 2010, with hopes of 5000 to 8000. It is also called Castle Street, Salisbury so one (we suspect the one above) must have a variant on this name. A second, but poorer image shows a little more of the building at right, so we've added a snippet for information.

On the right we have Salisbury High Street, with no date. It could also be 1870, but the feel  is of a rather later period, and looking at the ladies' dresses


Salisbury High Street south on the right hand pavement, we wouldn't be surprised by 1890. Local historians may be able to identify the period of years it would be consistent with.

The church is St. Thomas's Chancel, or Sarum St. Thomas and St. Edmund. The street off to the right just before the church is Silver Street, with the Poultry Cross just a short distance along it.

We are still in High Street Salisbury for this painting, but looking in the opposite direction, south along the street towards Salisbury Cathedral. The two views overlap, with the distinctively-roofed building helping to relate each to the other. Some of the buildings along the road still survive today. In the distance, the road goes through High Street Gate, also known as St. Stephen?s Gateway.

We'd suggest 1870s for this painting, but again, local historians would be better able to be definitive about it.

Minster Street Salisbury was auctioned by Bonhams in 2011, when it was a newcomer to our list of her paintings, so it may have been held privately for quite some time. We don't have a definite date for the view but it was in or by 1877.

We are standing in Minster Street, looking towards the Minster (i.e. Salisbury Cathedral). On the left we have the bold Sun Insurance sign, and some of the figures in the foreground have a now-familiar Louise look to them, but are well-executed as always.

Some of Louise's paintings are surprisingly small, but the real painting of this is five times the size of our image. It is one of Louise's finer-detailed paintings, and we have a close-up of the business names for the nearer shops below. The same clip shows one of her very nicely characterised street lamps.
Minster Street, Salisbury
The business names aren't clear, but suggest A. Rusloe, Ironware; what may be A Bamshaw or Armstrong misspelled for clothing (it's a letter short for Abrams); and C or G Wood, Hood, or Todd, Hairdresser. We'd welcome correction on these. Minster Street businesses, Salisbury

Next we have two almost identical views of the Poultry Cross, Salisbury, but painted on separate occasions. According to Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum, this market cross dates from c.1450, the peak of the city's prosperity - itself replacing a High Cross that had stood in a similar position since the city's earliest days.

Poultry Cross, Salisbury

The larger painting below was originally dated 1870, but this has been revised to circa 1880 (probably the following year as Louise is known to have visited Salisbury in 1870 and 1881). This now makes it feasible to date the painting at right as c.1870 - there could, after all, have been a confusion between the two paintings in the past.

There is evidential reason for doing this as well: the Poultry Cross had repair work done on it in the mid-1870s. If we look at the near-left footing of the cross, there is a clear difference, and the larger painting below matches more recent photographs. Unfortunately, we've seen no earlier images to confirm this, though they should exist: the curving buttresses which support the pinnacle and cross were only added in the early 1850s. That allows 20 years for early photographers or other artists to be out sharpening their bristles to capture the new. It could just be an anomaly in Louise's work but she could be meticulous about detail even while losing entire buildings she didn't want. Since she included the footing, she probably rendered it accurately, and we've since come across other information that supports that belief.

Poultry Cross, Salisbury
Poultry Cross closeup, Salisbury   Salisbury Poultry Cross, left, doesn't show us anything really new, but it is more of a close-up of the cross, is more handsome in its detail, and gives us much more of an impression of the people buying or trading there.

The near-left footing noted earlier is in the condition matching what we believe is the later painting above. The buildings visible behind are all identical to those in the other two paintings, but Salisbury may have been slow to change in this area in the 19th century.

The church behind the Cross with the somewhat changeable castellations and roof slope (see other paintings) is Sarum St. Thomas and St. Edmund, at the north end of the High Street.
St Ann Street Salisbury   St Ann Street, Salisbury is estimated to have been painted circa 1875, which places it handily between the two known visits! Like the Poultry Cross painting above, the purchase (for 5000 in 1993, we think) was supported by the Art Fund, and this painting, too, can be seen at the Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum (when on display) as a result.

St Ann Street's broad road made it a major route through Salisbury when Louise painted her picture, a claim it has lost in the 130 years since. We've been trying to work out what the cart in the foreground is for. Assuming the Salisbury authorities had installed a sewer system by this date, it wouldn't have been a night soil collector - and we wouldn't expect it to be around in broad daylight. Another possibility is a road-mending cart (basically pothole filling). Or the owner could be selling different materials by the shovelful or perhaps sackful. Any better guesses?

Behind is the well-known Salisbury cathedral with its towering spire - except that it doesn't really awe you here, so we'd guess that Louise shrank it to give her picture better balance.

Below we have two views of St. Stephen's Gateway, Salisbury, which is the title of the one on the left, and which we believe was painted before 1877 because it was mentioned in Ellen Clayton's book (see Sources). However, the location itself was quite fugitive. Salisbury Cathedral is surrounded by a defensive wall, and the painting certainly resembled the High Street Gate, but not closely enough to be confused with it. It had the same arch and the same castellation along the top, but the decoration was quite different.

We began to suspect that the same gate might have two different faces but we were only ever finding one, and Andy King was able to show that this was indeed the case. We did further searching and learned that the knight on the side that Louise painted is in early 14th century armour and faces the cathedral, whereas the side we kept finding faces the city and carries the Royal Coat of Arms.

St Stephens gateway, Salisbury St Stephens gateway, Salisbury (2)
Both sides have buildings hard up against the arch, so the Cathedral's fear of invasion has evidently diminished. But we still don't know why the painting is called St Stephen's Gateway.

The painting on the right courtesy of Martin Green shows almost exactly the same scene, but with softer colouring and different figures. Instead of repeating a very similar image, we've enlarged this section of it to give a closer view of the distant scene and take a look at the two academics. Academic robes were unusual for the mid-19th century as robes were only worn at Oxford and Cambridge. Martin's wife says the red edging to the robes is indicative of Oxford, so to be seen in Salisbury may indicate a "working" visit of some kind.


Mark Edwin Arstall has suggested the possibility that the scholars are the Caldecott brothers, natives of Chester: Randolph the children's cartoonist who worked on the book about Flint with Louise; and Rev Alfred who studied at London, Oxford(MA), Cambridge and possibly Salisbury Theological College (est. 1860). He suggests (no more than that) that the two pictures might have been bought as gifts by the brothers for each other. A version of Louise's St. Stephen's Gateway, Salisbury was exhibited at Liverpool in 1873 and again at Birmingham in 1874.

Other Salisbury scenes we know of but haven't yet seen are: The Close, The Town Gate, Salisbury (1881); and Silver Street. We would be very pleased to receive images of them (and any others!). Thank you!

SOUTH PETHERTON
To our pleasure, Ted Hodgetts of Ontario, Canada, forwarded this untitled painting and asked for information. I wondered immediately if it could be South Petherton, but didn't want to prompt anyone into a false identification. But Andy King also thought it might be that so we sent it to Debbie Roberts (see Salisbury above), and her cousin Gina Taylor enjoyed herself touring the local villages and was able to confirm it was indeed South Petherton. South Petherton, Somerset The church itself is called the Parish Church of St.Peter and St.Paul South Petherton. It has been suggested that the church spire looks taller in the painting than it is today. Perhaps a local historian will be able to help on that - and can anyone suggest a date?

Also, this isn't the painting of South Petherton that we knew of, so there is another one out there somewhere. If you know of it and can supply details (or better still an image), we would be delighted and it would make Debbie Roberts's life complete!

The painting was auctioned by Waddingtons (Canada) in November 2006 as Old Market Village, South Petherton, Somerset and it sold for C$9600.

DARTMOUTH & KINGSWEAR

This painting comes to us with the title Kingswear Dartmouth, but no more exact location. Since Dartmouth and Kingswear are separate towns facing each other across the mouth of the River Dart (albeit almost close enough to shout to each other), this lacks precision, and we'd be glad if anyone could identify the scene more closely. But it does have a minor point of interest: Louise usually left her signature in the road or on the pavement - but here it's under the window cill (right).

We don't have any real idea of the date and we don't know how many times Louise went to the south west, but we do know (see below) that Louise had created south western paintings in time for them to be mentioned in Ellen Clayton's book of 1876.

THE UNCAUGHT...
Finally, we know that Louise did a painting of Winchester's Market Cross; of Kingswear, Devon (perhaps the one above - perhaps not); and of the 'soft Devonian landscapes' that Ellen Clayton mentions in her book. We know prints exist of scenes in and around Bristol and hope to include some soon, and surely there are other scenes in south and the south-west. But we'll have to wait for someone to send us images before we can include them here.
   Kingswear

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 inevitable that there will be errors, though we do correct these when we learn of them.

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'd like to thank the many people around the world who have already contributed - you've helped to make these pages as good as they are. Thank you!

Copyright 2015 DudleyMall.


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