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Harry Morley

Harry Morley (1881-1943) was born in Leicester and educated at the Alderman Newton School, Leicester and at the Leicester School of Art (Department of Architecture). He entered the architectural practice of Professor Beresford Pite in 1901. In 1905 he visited Italy, having won travelling scholarships from both the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Royal College of Art. As a result he decided to give up architecture for painting. He spent the following year in Paris studying at Julien’s atelier and under other masters. He was elected a Member of the Royal Watercolour Society (in 1927), a Member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers (1929), an Associate of the Royal Academy of Arts (1936), a Member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (1936), and a Master of the Art Workers’ Guild (1936).

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Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial during construction
A watercolour measuring 8½” x 12¼”. Signed Harry Morley and dated [19]10.

The Subject
Buckingham Palace: an early morning scene with riders. Buckingham Palace, the principal London residence of the British monarch…

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…was originally built in the 18th century as a country house on the doorstep of Westminster. It was transformed into a palace in the 19th century, first by the architect John Nash in 1825-30, and then by Edward Blore in 1832-7 and 1846-50. The view in the watercolour is from Green Park to the north-east, and largely depicts Blore’s east front of 1846-50.
On the left is the Queen Victoria Memorial during its construction. The most elaborate monument in London after the Albert Memorial, it was designed by Sir Thomas Brock in 1904 and assembled in 1906-24. The circus around it was designed by Sir Aston Webb, as were the architectural elements of the Memorial. The monument stands 82 ft high and was made of 2,300 tons of white Carrara marble. Michael Jenner states in London Heritage (1988): ‘The Victoria Memorial… stands not only as a symbol of British self-esteem but may also be regarded as the high-water mark of London’s self-confidence and metropolitan aspirations.’

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Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex
A watercolour measuring 8″ x 12½”. Signed Harry Morley. Provenance: with the Fine Art Society (label verso dated September 1944).