Last chance to see historic waterway paintings

Burpham Wharf, by W. H. Mason
Burpham Wharf, by W. H. Mason

ART lovers and local history enthusiasts are being offered a rare opportunity to see views of this part of West Sussex for perhaps the last time in public.

Evocative scenes of the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal and barges on the River Arun at Burpham and Arundel are among the pictures in an exhibition at Wilsons Antiques, in Tarring Road, Worthing, which opens tomorrow (Friday).

Historic views of Worthing and a 19th century landscape showing the River Adur, near Bramber, also feature in the event.

With most of the paintings likely to be sold to private collectors, the eight-day show is expected to attract much interest from local historians and waterways enthusiasts keen to study the seldom-seen works.

The main focus will be on the work of Sir William Russell Flint, a Royal Academician, with a number of his original watercolours on display, together with framed prints, some signed by the artist.

At the same time Wilsons Antiques is also staging an exhibition of Sussex river and canal paintings and bargeware.

Three of the pictures, from a private collection, are by W. H. Mason, an artist who lived in Worthing and Chichester, and are wonderful studies of the canal and the Arun. One is of Ford Lock, around 1850, at the eastern end of the canal.

Another shows a barge approaching Arundel on the Arun towards dusk, the castle looming in the background, while the third is of the old river wharf at Burpham, with a barge berthed beneath the village church and the moon rising in the sky – both these paintings are from around 1863/64.

There is also a view of Broadwater Mill, on the Downs above Worthing, painted by Robert Thorne Waite towards the end of the 19th century. The mill stood on what is now the 17th hole of the lower course of Worthing Golf Club. Broadwater Church and St Andrew’s Church, Tarring, stand out in the landscape, with haymaking underway on the Downs and the sea in the distance.

Beach House, Worthing, now converted to flats, near the Aquarena, is the subject of a 1930s painting by Findon artist C. W. Taylor, and shows a lively group of young dancers in the grounds of the house.

Contented cows are grazing on the bank of the River Adur, near Bramber, in Henry Earp Senior’s painting “A Summer Afternoon”, from the mid-19th century.

The exhibition continues until Saturday, September 22 from 10am-5pm and all the exhibits are for sale. The Sir Russell Flint section is in association with Paul Mayhew Fine Art.