SMYTHE, Edward Robert

1810 - 1899

Edward Robert Smythe

Born at Berners Street, Ipswich in 1810, son of James Smyth (1780-1863) and his wife Sarah Harriet née Skitter; James, who was an accountant with the bank Bacon, Cobbold, Durningham & Cobbold in Tavern Street, Ipswich added a final 'e' to his surname. Edward attended the school of Robert Burcham Clamp and had a liking for a military career but his love of art took his fancy. Elected a member of the Ipswich Society of Professional and Amateur Artists on 1 March 1832 and attended his first meeting on 18 November the same year and was probably working under Henry Davy [q.v.] and where he met many local artist members. In his younger days he had a studio in the Old Shire Hall, Ipswich where he painted with such artists as Samuel Read [q.v.], Walter Hagreen [q.v.], Frederick Russel [q.v.] and Robert Burrows [q.v.]. About 1840 he moved to Norwich to study the Norwich School of painting where he became acquainted with Robert Ladbrooke’s son, Frederick [q.v.] and is said to have worked with John Sell Cotman [1782-1842] but returned to Ipswich some five years later, taking a house in Bramford Road. He married at Ipswich in 1848, Ellen Bowman of Ipswich and where his first child Edward Robert, jun. was born the following year. In 1851, giving his age as 32, is living at Elmswell, Suffolk with his 24 year old wife Ellen and son but later that year moved to 3 Angel Hill, Bury St Edmund’s, where he kept company with his friend Fred Ladbrooke. By 1861, still at Angel Hill, they had further children born at Bury St Edmund’s, Francis (Frank) Rowland 1852, Ellen Kate 1854 and Mary Emily 1856, their daughter Louisa Jane, died at Angel Hill, Bury St Edmund’s on 7 April 1861, aged 3 years and 7 months. He exhibited at the Suffolk Fine Arts Association at the New Lecture Hall of the Mechanics' Institution, Ipswich in August 1850 several oil paintings including 'Chapel Viaduct, Colne Valley', 'A Group of Animals', 'A Sketch Ploughing', 'Ponies and a Dog' and 'A Landscape' and a watercolour 'The Ruling Passion strong in Death' and was also a member and exhibitor at the Ipswich Art Club 1886-1898. He also exhibited five works at the Royal Academey including 'View in the Colne Valley at Chappel, Essex' and exhibited five works at the British Institution including 'Pony and Boy' and 'The Village Blacksmith'. In 1865 Edward was living at 98 Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmund’s, and his wife died at 69 Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmund’s in 1879, aged 52. By 1891 he had moved in with his married daughter Ellen Kate, who had married at St Matthew’s church Ipswich on 10 May 1886, George Robert Chilvers, a tobacco manufacturer, at Burlington Lodge, 30 Burlington Road, Ipswich where he died on 5 July 1899, aged 88, and buried in Ipswich cemetery three days later. Five of his painting were on show at the Centenary exhibition of the Ipswich Art Club in 1974 a pastel 'Crossing the Stream', and oils 'Beach Scene', 'Knife Grinders' and 'The Squires Son' and a drawing 'Gipsies by the Wayside'. In recent years he has regained something of the prestige that he held during his lifetime and his oil 'Woolpit Horse Fair' fetched £39,650 at Bonham's London auction in 2011.




Works by This Painter