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Nottingham from The Meadows at Crocus time, 1890

Thomas William Hammond

English ( b.1854 - d.1935 )

Nottingham from The Meadows at Crocus time, 1890

  • Pastel
  • Signed lower left

Image size 13.6 inches x 20.7 inches ( 34.5cm x 52.5cm )
Frame size 21.3 inches x 28.3 inches ( 54cm x 72cm )

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Sold by Big Sky Fine Art; this original pastel on paper by Thomas William Hammond; dating from 1890.
The work is presented and supplied in its original reeded gilt frame. The frame has been opened and the artwork mounted with a barrier of conservation materials and behind the original glass.
Featured in the book (Plate 18) first published in Great Britain in 1997 for the exhibition "A City in the Making, Drawings of Nottingham by Thomas William Hammond by Nottingham City Museums in conjunction with Nottingham Civic Society;ISBN 0 905634 32 2 .

The life of Thomas Hammond is an extraordinary one, he was an orphan who was shipped to another continent to be brought up in his parents’ home town, and went on to become one of the town’s best loved sons.

Hammond’s parents were William Hammond and Maria Gee. They married in 1852 and emigrated to Philadelphia. They had three children; Joseph, Thomas and Maria. In 1859 after his elder brother and both parents had died, Thomas and his younger sister were sent back to England to live with their grandparents. Thomas was just four at the time. For a while they lived at Mount Street in Nottingham.

In 1868 age 14 the young Thomas enrolled in the Government School of Art. Nottingham was at that time the center of a thriving lace industry and Thomas began to work as a designer, where his talents began to shine. On the 1871 census he is described as a lace curtain designer, and in 1872 he was awarded the 'Queen's Prize for a Design of a Lace Curtain'. Other prizes followed and in 1877 he was again awarded the Queen's Prize, this time for the design for a damask table Cloth.

Thomas married Eleanor Maud Kearne and they had two children, Cecil and Guy. They lived at 9 Burns Street, Nottingham.

Hammond was an indefatigable worker, and soon began to use his skills as a draftsman to record aspects of the changing town. In his spare time he sketched the rapidly changing landscape of Nottingham. He was unique in that he focused on the one town, and worked with a sense of mission, recording every view and aspect of its life. He worked mainly in pastels and charcoal. He began showing his work at local venues in 1882 and in 1890 exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy. He is thought to have produced around 350 pictures altogether, and together they form one of the best records of the still largely Georgian and Victorian town.

He died on 9th February 1935 and is buried at Wilford Church, Nottingham.

For a while Hammond was one of Nottingham greatest and best loved artists, but today his work is underappreciated and, accordingly to a prominent local auctioneer, absurdly inexpensive.

This original pastel gives us a glimpse of Victorian Nottingham from the area known as the Meadows. At that time the Meadows were just that, and we see the mixed grasslands with the pale blue and purple tones of the crocuses. Here are a number of figures, no doubt picking the flowers and enjoying the spring air. In the distance, along the horizon, we see the city of Nottingham, with its industrial chimneys pumping smoke into the air and the outline of Nottingham Castle, standing proud on Castle Rock. To the left of the Castle is the exclusive area known as the Park Estate. Between the Meadows and the city is the railway embankment, with the dark outline of railway wagons. The clouds above are a palette of greys and cream against a pale blue sky.