Charles Napier Hemy a busy man with great friends
Charles Napier Hemy settled in Falmouth in 1881 and it’s amazing that he ever had time to paint.
His boat, ‘The Vandermeer’, which was kitted out with a studio may have been his great escape. It certainly brought him closer to the waves and marine activity the result of which is the incredible sense of movement seen in his paintings.
He designed and supervised the build of his Falmouth home, ‘Churchfield’, at Kimberley place which has since become the, ‘Anthenaeum Club’. The plans for the house began when his first wife Mary was still alive. He married his second wife Amy Freeman sister to artist Winnifred Freeman in 1881 which must have been a pretty busy year for him. Amy and Winnifred were the daughters of the Freeman family who owned Freemans Granite Works in Penryn. While we haven’t found any confirmation we wonder if that is how Hemy met Amy. We are sure someone will tell us.
At his home Hemy found the time to mentor other artists including, Sir Frank Brangwyn, Jon Riley Wilmer and Montague Dawson and was great friends with Henry Scot Tuke.
He was the official painter for the Royal Yacht Squadron and became a member of the The Royal Society of Painters in watercolour.
A regular visitor to Newlyn, Hemy was one of the first exhibitors at the Passmore Edwards Art Gallery.
We suspect that when John Singer Sinclair came to stay at Churchfield for three days in 1905 he was glad to sit down and have his portrait painted.
Did we mention he was also the first Falmouth artist to become a Royal Academician in 1910? So now he had to find time to assist in the governance and direction of ‘The Royal Academy of Arts’.
Hemy died in 1917 aged 79 and was buried at Falmouth Cemetery along with several other famous artists including his good friend Henry Scott Tuke although Tuke died several years later.
During his life Hemy achieved a great many things but it was his settlement in Falmouth that highlighted not only his work but the great many artists that surrounded him, those that stayed and passed through this great town. Today Falmouth continues to be the home of many great artists and the destination for many searching for inspiration in her beauty and culture.
An exhibition that celebrates the work of Hemy & Friends will be on display at Falmouth Art Gallery from November 24th until February 2nd 2013.