Friends of Hastings Cemetery

Arthur Foord Hughes

DG B116 – Arthur Foord Hughes

He was born in Pimlico, London in 1856, son of artist Arthur Hughes (1832-1915) and his former model and wife Tryphena Foord, who married in 1855.  He followed in his father's footsteps as an artist but added the additional name of Foord to differentiate him from his father.  In 1891 he was a 34 year old unmarried artist living at in Kensington.  He married at Chelsea in 1893, Elizabeth Jones and in 1901 is listed as a 44 year old painter artist living at 7 Albert Mansions, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea with his 37 year old wife Elizabeth but by 1911 he had moved to 'The Pines', Pett, then he moved to High Wickham (Harry Furniss’ old residence).

Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 28 July 1934
Sussex Artist
Death of Mr A Foord Hughes

STUDENT OF WINDMILLS. Sussex art circles have suffered a severe loss by the death of Mr. Arthur Foord Hughes, which occurred in a Hastings nursing home last Friday, at the age of 77.  He had been in failing health for some time.  Mr. Hughes's delicate watercolours were well known locally. He painted practically everv windmill in Sussex, and it was one of his sorrows that these picturesque landmarks were fast disappearing from the face of the countryside.

Within few weeks of his birth in London October 9th. 1856. he sat as an unconscious model for Dante Gabriel Rossetti, though his career almost came to an untimely end soon afterwards when Ruskin prepared to seat himself on the couch where the infant lay!

His father was the painter of important works to seen in the Tate Gallery and collections at Birmingham, Bournemouth and Oxford, and was also the original illustrator of "Tom Brown's School Days," for which young Hughes sat, rather reluctantly it is said, as the model of the boy hero.


ACADEMY DISTINCTION. But although he probably resented these temporary curtailments of liberty, the boy made up his mind at an early age to concentrate art as a career.  After leaving King's College School, he pursued his artistic education at Heatherleys, the Slade and finally the Royal Academy, where in he gained the silver medal for the best drawing.

His love of Sussex was deeply rooted and for some years he lived in a delightful cottage at Pett, touring the whole county in search of scenes worthy of his brush.  Later on he moved with his wife to home of the late Harry Furniss at High Wickham, overlooking Old Hastings.  He published a book on Sussex windmills, containing a wealth of interesting information and copiously illustrated with his charming water-colours. Two of his best pictures were The Finding of Leander,' sold at the New Gallery, and "The Gleaner," hung at the Academy.

AN APPRECIATION Mr. Gidley Robinson writes:—With the passing of Arthur Foord Hushes, who died at Hastings on July 20th, in his 78th year, one of the last links of this generation with the Pre-Raphaelites is broken.  His father, Arthur Hughes, though not a member of the Brotherhood, was closely associated and in complete sympathy with it.  When the son Arthur grew up and became an artist, he never wavered in his devotion to Pre-Raphaelite aims and methods.  Like Holman Hunt, he wanted " go direct to nature, and to paint the earth in the beauty of actual sunlight," and the love of pure colour and the patient study of detail which distinguish his work were illustrated year after veer by the pictures he sent to London exhibitions, or the East Sussex Arts Club, of which he was president from 1920 1923.

Some twenty of the windmill water-colour drawings were generously presented to the Hastings Museum by his sister, Miss Emilv Foord Hughes, a form of memorial in which his friends will recognise the charm of his delicate draughtsmanship.

A Personal Reminiscence. ...  We were near neighbours for many years, and our intimate acquaintance came about through finding out that I had known that great writer, poet and preacher, George Mac Donald, when he was living in the town.   Further that I was connected with Felix Slade, founder of the Slade School, of which he had been a distinguished pupil when the principal was Sir Edwin Poynter.  His father illustrated some books for his friend, George Mac Donald, who  took a great interest in the son of his friend, and the lad spent a good deal of his time with his children and was educated with them.  As a young man he also came under the influence of that celebrated genius, Holman Hunt, painter, among other works, of "The Light of the World."


In 1929 Arthur Foord Hughes and I were on the local Centenary Committee of Gabriel  Rossetti, who was married at St. Clement's Church, Hastings, to Elizabeth in May, 1860.

The love of nature as depicted in the paintings of my artistic friend was equally mine. Neither of us were modernists in art, and greatly deplored its present decadence shown in the work of the futurists.  The town has had great past in the world of art and literature such noted men and women residing in it, or as visitors, such George Mac Donald, Millais, Holman-Hunt, Coventry Patmore, Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti. Mark Rutherford, Augustus Hare, Clifford Harrison, Matilda Betham-Edwards and Harry Furniss.  Now must be added to the roll of honour of those who have passed away the name of Arthur Foord Hughes. I trust that the Hastings Art Gallery will acquire some of his exquisite paintings and also have a large black and white sketch done of this Sussex artist to place next to them " WILLIAM SLADE. " Walcot," High Wickham, Hastings.