Two years ago it was revealed to the public, in a small leaflet about the church that hidden on the east wall is a treasure that has not been seen since 1961, when it was covered over in a spate of repair and decoration to the church. It was not known at the time that the local artist from the next village would become renowned throughout the world.
John Roddam Spencer Stanhope was born at Cannon Hall, near Cawthorne in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in 1829. He spent seven years with the painter George Frederic Watts and was recruited by the Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti to help paint murals in the new debating chamber of the Oxford Union. He became friends with William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. Years later, when he wanted to commission a window for St John the Evangelist, Hoylandswaine, he turned to his old friends. The east window in the church was designed by Burne-Jones and supplied by Morris & Co. The art of the Italian Renaissance, particularly that of Botticelli, exerted a growing influence on him and he developed a style that mingled this influence with that of the Aesthetic avant-garde in England. He was a regular exhibitor at the Grosvenor Gallery from its opening in 1877, showing there alongside old comrades including Watts and Burne-Jones. He died in Italy in 1908 and is buried in Florence.
Leading members of local society, The Mayor of Barnsley, MP Angela Smith (recently elevated to the Labour front bench) and the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, will join the audience to hear the Roddam expert Simon Poë speak about the artist and why it is important to raise funds to uncover the painting.
Simon Poë is a writer and art historian who is researching the life and work of the Yorkshire Pre-Raphaelite painter Roddam Spencer Stanhope. He wrote the entry on the artist in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He is also currently writing a chapter on genre painting for a book, Inside the Royal Academy, forthcoming from Yale University Press. He is an Associate Editor of The British Art Journal and is a regular contributor to that magazine, to Apollo and to Country Life. He lives in Yorkshire.
The public launch of the project will explain how Hoylandswaine Church and Hoylandswaine Arts have joined forces to prepare an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and The Pilgrim Trust.
OCTOBER 29TH 7 00 PM
SHEFFIELD S36 7JQ
Further information from Project Champion Elizabeth Charlesworth on 01226 764797 and from the website www.hoylandswainearts.co.uk