Frederick William Hulme
1816 - 1884F.W. Hulme was born on 22nd October, 1816 in Swinton, Yorkshire. He was initially taught by his mother, who was a painter on porcelain, and by 1841 he had exhibited his first landscapes at the Birmingham Academy.
During the first three decades of the 19th century British landscape painting was transformed from a fairly humble branch of art, based on topography, to one that was rich and vitally creative. England was changing from a rural society to an urban one and country life was viewed nostalgically as purer, healthier and more natural than life in the smoky new cities. Social prestige was associated with ownership of land and money and trade were seen as vulgar. The Victorian new rich hastened to buy themselves country estates and the large demand for landscape paintings produced a huge number of landscape artists. These pictures filled the new middleclass parlours and were the staple diet of the Royal Academy every year.
Hulme moved to London in 1844 where he became an illustrator and engraver. However, he soon tired of this and began painting landscapes again. By 1852 the artist was living in Hereford Square and he began exhibiting his work at the Royal Academy and the British Institute. His paintings were mostly idyllic Welsh or Surrey views with animals, particularly sheep, with occasional rustic figures. His style is clear and fresh and his tranquil pastoral scenes fulfilled the Victorian ideal. By 1869 Hulme was living at 8 St. Alban’s Road in Kensington from where he continued to exhibit at the Academy until 1884.
The painting ‘A Shady Lane, Surrey’ was painted in 1874 at the height of Hulme’s career. It is a very fine and typical example of the artist’s work; it is Pre-Raphaelite in feel and the palette is fresh. His use of browns and yellows suggests the start of autumn and the slumbering sheep emphasise the artist’s oneness with nature and God.
Hulme lived in London until the end of his life. He died on 14th November, 1884.