Mystery of 100-year-old painting depicting one summer in Bedhampton

CHARMING A Midsummer's Day in Bedhampton a century ago
CHARMING A Midsummer's Day in Bedhampton a century ago

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The date is June 24, Midsummer’s Day, Bedhampton.

Captured in a delicate watercolour, the church and quiet street are bathed in sunshine, except where the shadow of the ancient yew tree falls across the grass and the graveyard wall.

The trees at the west end of the church are in full leaf: roses are in bloom by the porch.

Three little girls walk side by side past the steps leading up to the church path.

Their straw hats, pinafores, black shoes and black woollen stockings evoke a bygone era: one that, a little over a year later, would vanish forever. For this scene was painted a century ago.

It is 1913: ‘The Year Before’.

Although dated June 24, 1913, the artist’s name is unknown.

Bedhampton Rector David Proud has said it’s a delightful little painting – and would love to know if anyone has any clue who the artist was.

One hundred years on from its creation, this original watercolour can be viewed in St Thomas’ Church, Bedhampton, on the day of the Bedhampton Summer Show – to be held on Bidbury Mead from 2pm to 5pm tomorrow.

Showgoers are invited to stop at the church to view the painting, where cards featuring the scene will be also available for purchase.

Do you know who this artist was?

Please email office@bedhamptonparish.org.uk.

St Thomas’ Church is a Norman building and although there are no accurate records of the original dedication, this is traditionally put at 1132AD.