Wednesday, 25 May 2011

View of Hove

This oil, c.1850, by George Hilditch (1803 - 1857) may well have been inspired by the view west from the high ground of the "Wicks", now known as Furze Hill, which is about 150 feet above sea-level. St. Andrew's Church is unmistakeable and assuming some pictorial license was used, the house with the haystacks is probably Wick Farm. Just beyond the church can be seen Hove Street, the original village, with Hove Manor House conspicuous.

Hilditch was known as "The Richmond Painter" for his views of the Thames around Richmond and Twickenham. His work, with that of others, was responsible for imprinting the scenic value of the view from Richmond Hill on the public consciouness, such that all attempts by developers to intrude on the view have, to date,  been successfully resisted. No such luck with Hove of course and probably in the real world development of the Sussex coastal plain was inevitable. However we should perhaps regret that our historic town & village identities were not at least symbolically preserved by the creation of greenways or green belts along their boundaries.

Hilditch regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy, Royal Society of British Artists and won medals from the Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce. He was also a pioneer of photography. In 1852 he exhibited 20 prints at the Society of Arts in London.

"View of Hove" in Hove Museum was purchased for £1800 in 1987 with the help of a grant of £450 from the Art Fund.

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