Artist’s work paints picture of the past

Hylton Ferry (1910) by Ralph Hedley. This chain-operated ferry carried vehicles between North and South Hylton.

Hylton Ferry (1910) by Ralph Hedley. This chain-operated ferry carried vehicles between North and South Hylton.

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VISIONS of the past by one of the region’s most popular Victorian artists will be shown at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens from Monday.

Ralph Hedley, who lived from 1848 to 1913, was a realist painter, woodcarver and illustrator, best known for his paintings portraying scenes of everyday life in the North East of England.

Hedley exhibited paintings in the region from 1878 and became a member of the Royal Society of British Artists.

Between 1879 and 1904 he had more than 50 of his paintings displayed at the Royal Academy in London.

Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, said: “I would encourage anyone with an interest in Victorian art and lifestyle to come along to this fantastic exhibition.

“Hedley is best known for painting images of working-class life here in the North East.

“In addition, he also painted other contemporary artists and took commissions for portraits.

“One of these commissions was to paint John Dickinson, head of a marine engineering firm John Dickinson and Sons of Palmers Hill Engine Works, here in Sunderland.

“Dickinson was so impressed with his work that he left 31 paintings to Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens in 1908.

“This is still the largest single bequest of fine art the museum has received.”

More than 60 of Hedley’s oil paintings are held and displayed by galleries and museums across Tyne and Wear.

This exhibition brings together works from the Laing Art Gallery and Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.

l The Ralph Hedley exhibition is on display at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens from Monday until March 1.