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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Henry Clarence Harridge, 1930s artist.

© Stephen Bigger.
I possess a small collection of the artwork of Henry Clarence Harridge..There is no biography anywhere, and little on the web, so I would be pleased for any information.  I bought a few pieces in nearby Highworth near where he then lived: his etchings were being sold in a local art shop, where I bought The Prospect of Whitby, and The Ouse Near Kings Lynn. He had been emptying his garage prior to moving away. Since then I have found and purchased a few more, including an original pencil and wash drawing of the Thames from Bankside, and a related etching. Harridge’s favoured medium was etching, learned at  Hornsea School of Art under John Moody and Norman James in the early 1930s. A few oils and pencil drawings have also appeared in auction.  His grandfather was also Henry Clarence H-, his father Frederick William H- (1881-1954), and mother May (Osborn, b. 1884). Our Henry Clarence was born in Edmonton, London on 23 Feb 1908, and married Hilda (Weir) in December 1935: Hilda died in 2005. HC lived in Swindon till 2005, then Melksham  and I understand that he now lives in Stoke Newington, the oldest living English artist. I have not come across any post 1940 work, so his active period was only four or five years.
A postcard etching  indicates on the back that this was self-published from 9 George Street, Hastings, in all likelihood the artist’s flat above the commercial premises below (now a restaurant). The card is undated, the signature in small block capitals is the same as on an original drawing by him I possess dated 1938.
His etching prints are ‘limited edition’ signed with a flowing pencil autograph from a later date, giving the date of the original etching. I presume they were printed later from the old plates since the prints are crisp and fresh. Of the first pair I bought, the Ouse near Denver, looked towards Kings Lynn (1936, 150 x 100 mm) sketched whilst the artist was on honeymoon (detail pencilled on the back).
My second purchase was the Prospect of Whitby public house from the Thames (200x150mm).  The front of the pub is on Wapping Wall, (a street in Wapping, London). I have a much larger impressed etching of the Thames from Bankside (410x325mm, dated 1937), showing the river, boats and Wapping warehouses opposite, drawn in great detail. Using artist’s licence, he has placed St Paul’s dome as the background. In the original pencil and water-colour I possess, this is replaced by Puddle Dock
 If you have any further information, please leave a comment.
© Stephen Bigger.  With thanks to Keith Taylor.