Friday, 27 May 2011

Cedric Hodgson - Baron of Rye

Here is a printmaker with two distinct personalities and two names! One his real name Cedric and the other, the self appointed title of "Baron of Rye".

I had seen small scale etchings with a signature which seemed to read I Hodges around the fairs and markets. Some were very appealing, especailly the studies of children and dogs. I never bought them, I had taken a note of the name in the past and had failed to track down this artist.

I can't recall how I got to C Hodgson, it might have been the picture below, as it has a clearer signature in the plate. Once named the research was possible.

He was painter and etcher of landscapes with and the occasional animal or figural study. The works I have seen are either signed C Hodgson or his alias Baron of Rye.He lived in a house call Cambourne in Rye Sussex, where
 ran a printing firm and was an accomplished musician, performing locally. Later in he changed his name to David Baron by deedpole.

The pictures I have seen been either the typical black line etching of landscapes or buildings that were so popular in the inter-wars years or sweet studies of children and dogs. I have seen an etching titled "Poppy Sleeps" of a little girl asleep in her bed with a little toy golly looking down from the window sill. Such a delicate study that I wonder whether Poppy was a member of the family ?

These picture will enlarge if clicked on. The one on the right is a view of his home town Rye.

This was the first etching that I saw that I was drawn to. I have also seen a version with two children on the left, so it is safe to assume that he reworked his plates publishing in several states. The first one I enquired about was at the Kempton Park Antiques Market, years ago, the dealer was asking quite a lot of money for something that on closer examination had been eaten by wood worm ! the best he could say was "it's signed"

I do not know whether he exhibited or where he sold his work. I guess that they sold well enough as they are fairly regularly seen. I found a reference to him whilst googling that led me to "The British Journal of Inebreity" c1933 and within there are the words "Mr Cedric Hodgson, of The Studio, Rye, Sussex, is supplying a charming series of artistic etchings which a specially suited to ....." Sadly it would have cost me £100's to join this service to access the full document and read the full reference and it's context. I don't know whether this was just a general advert or whether he had some special interest in the society. At least we have a date.

Comment from reader and relation of Cedric.

Hi Steven
As I am not very ‘techie’ I cannot work out how to leave a comment on your site. I did leave one - however, I cannot find it now!

I was most interested to see your sketches of Cedric Hodgson/Baron of Rye.

Cedric was my paternal Grandfather. However I never knew him or my Grandmother as my father (Peter Wakefield Baron) was dis-inherited for ‘marrying beneath his station’! My mother was a lowly farm hand’s daughter and they took their disappointment to their graves. This was a terrible shame as Peter was an only child and my father and mother were married for 63 years, until my fathers death in 2001.

I have gathered quite a lot of sketches and etchings of Cedric’s over the years - mostly of architecture. However, I have not come across any of the ones in your gallery, so I am quite excited!

We live in Wiltshire and hope to visit Rye and find Cambourne House, which is where my Father grew up and hopefully find more of his work.

Kind regards
Lynda Tuckwell

Internet references include;

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