G. H. B. Holland
George Herbert Buckingham Holland (1901-1987) was born in Northampton and educated at Northampton Grammar School. He trained as an artist at Northampton School of Art and Leicester College of Art in 1918-23. In 1923 he opened a studio at Whitworth Chambers, George Row, Northampton. He lived in Chelsea, London, for a while before returning in 1939 to Northampton, where he resided for the rest of his life. He was primarily a portrait painter, but also painted landscapes and still life. Three of his works are in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, and his works are also in the collections of the Royal Academy of Music, Birmingham School of Music, Northampton Art Gallery, National Library of Wales, and Keble College, Oxford. He was President of the Northampton Town and County Art Society in 1949-50 and President of Kettering and District Art Society in 1982. A retrospective exhibition of his work was held in 1997 at the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, to mark the 10th anniversary of his death.
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Portrait of Mrs Grace Pearse (1926)
An oil on canvas, measuring 35½” x 27½”. Signed GHB Holland. Inscribed on canvas verso: ‘Mrs Grace Pearse (1926) by GHB Holland’. Provenance: exhibited in 1982 at show of Holland’s paintings at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery (No. 6-‘Not For Sale’). Sold by Lowery’s of Northampton in July 1986 in disposal sale of Holland’s studio (lot 356).
The sitter was born Mary Grace Colwill in Davidstow, Cornwall in 1876, the daughter of Jonathon Colwill, a shoemaker and farmer. In 1909 she married William Thomas Pearse, a Northampton leather merchant…
…and partner in the firm of Coker, Pearse & Co. Tom’s father, Joseph Elias Pearse, came from a Devonian family in the leather trade, and on moving to Northampton set up the largest grindery business servicing the town’s boot and shoe industry. He was so successful that he was able to retire in 1898 and sell the firm on. In 1915 he was Mayor of Northampton, having been a Councillor for the Abington Ward, and in 1930 he became a Magistrate. His house in Northampton, The Knowle at 502 Wellingborough Road, was later lived in by his son Tom and daughter-in-law Grace. It is from this address in 1957 that Grace wrote to John Betjeman thanking him for his championing of Northampton and the county, and enclosing a copy of a book that belonged to the Northampton architect Matthew Holding. This portrait of Grace depicts her as a member of an affluent and influential Northampton leather trade family, with the accoutrements of a comfortable home behind her. She is also portrayed as having artistic tastes – she wears an Aesthetic dress with Renaissance-style sleeves, and there is an Oriental vase on the table behind her. In her letter to Betjeman she confides that her husband had wanted to become a pupil of Matthew Holding’s but his father would not permit it. The painting is presented in its original carved gilt frame.
Resting the Horse
An oil on paper laid on board, measuring 11” x 15”. Signed Holland and dated ’28.
A group of travellers have stopped for a rest, and have unhitched their horse from the bright gipsy caravan in the foreground.
Cardiff City Hall
An oil on board, measuring 11½” x 15¼”. Signed Holland.
This is the fifth building to have served as the centre of local government in Cardiff and is part of the fine ensemble of civic buildings in Cathays Park. It opened in 1906…
…to the designs of the firm of Lanchester, Stewart and Rickards. The Edwardian Baroque style reflects the confidence of the period, when Cardiff’s prosperity from the coal industry was at its height. Cardiff City Hall is dominated by a 194 foot high clock tower, and its dome is surmounted by a Welsh dragon, sculpted by H.C. Fehr.