'Thatchways' by Peter Hemming

This page attempts to illustrate and publicise the unusual concentration of artists that have been attracted to Harvington. This was not surprising when travel was becoming more frequent and artists were finding these gems of rustic beauty from a past age, although by the turn of the twentieth century Harvington was changing with the addition of national standard Victorian and later Edwardian houses. Up until then, apart from two or three large Georgian houses and a large brick hopkiln, Harvington had retained its vernacular architecture in the form of timber-framed and thatched buildings that had stood in their rural setting for hundreds of years, epitomised by manor farm over 600 and Crooked Walls over 500 years old. But the age of 'modernisation' was coming which struck Harvington with a vengeance in the 1930s, mostly led by the District Council. This resulted in the loss of almost half of Harvington's ancient timber-framed buildings coupled with 'road improving', kerbs, street lighting etc. We now have to rely on artists and photographers to remind us of the loss.

Here is a lovely little piece to illustate the above sentiments.

'Our ancient hamlet sweet'.
by Alice Mary Cook.
THERE WASN'T so many folks as knowed
About our village afore it growed,
’Cept Arthur Mee who said ‘twas a sight
Of the pictureaskew in black an' white,
An' 'ceptin’ them artists as come to paint
The village as was. But now it ain‘t.
Cos why? Well, no repairs was done
To the “sweetest 'amlet under the sun.”
Them artists wanted it kep‘ that way:
To touch it would be a crime, they'd say.

So things were gettin' worse than bad;
Just ’alf a roof was what some folks ’ad.
But this could give us a lovely view
Of the midnight stars a-peepin' through.
An' sometimes, now l laughs to tell,
A rat ud come peepin‘ through as well.
The rain come drippin’ on our ’eads
An' toadstools grew a-side our beds;
The roofs got a-fallin' now and then,
An' buried many a scrattin‘ 'en.

“Don‘t alter it," one more artist said,

With tears a-streamin’ from his ’ead.
So. in case 'is tender ’eart should break,
Nobody no repairs would make,
That‘s ’ow our ancient 'amlet sweet
Become just ruins each side the street.

Then along eomes one o' them sanity blokes,
What looks into your drains and pokes.
We ‘adn‘t no drains for 'im to smell
But the ditches we‘d got did just as well.
So, bein' a knowin' kind o' man,
’E said we needed a 'ousin‘ plan.
My grandad. what was a 'undred an' more,
Said us all knowed that ninety yea afore.

So they swep’up the ruins o’th" 'amlet sweet,
Built lots of 'ouses and made a street.
They even put ’ouses down the lanes,
With water laid on to taps an' chains.

Them artists? They upped an' mumbled
For our little old village ain' now on view.


There has been a small but active art group in the village since at least the early 1990s.


A listing of basic information about a number of artists and some of their paintings from the earliest to the present.

Samuel Towers 1862-1943
Samuel Towers RA RCA is probably the most notable water-colour painter to live in Harvington. Samuel and Edith Towers moved into Firbank with their two young daughters Hilda and Isyllt in 1906. Towers had fallen in love with the picturesque architecture in Harvington and he painted a large number of scenes around the village, which are mostly with the family. With his wife and two daughters he must have been a familiar sight around the village. It was probably his presence and contacts that attracted well-known artists such as A R Quinton who almost certainly stayed in their home, two of Quinton's painting were of domestic scenes in the garden of Firbank. Samuel Towers died on 30th June 1943 after which Edith moved in to The Close in Station Road.

Few Evesham people, with the exception of those who have attended exhibitions in London and Liverpool, have had opportunities of seeing examples of the work of the Harvington artist, Samuel Towers, R.C.A. A fine landscape by Mr. Towers, who died last week, is displayed in the window of Messrs. H. Fowler's premises in the High Street. Entitled "The Vale of Evesham", it gives a vista of the town, as seen from an elevation lower down the river. Although the painting bears the stamp of the artist's own individuality, there are indications of the influence of J. M. W. Turner, whilst the trees and the slight mist are reminiscent of the French artist, Corot.

It was probably a real surprise to the majority of our readers, to those, that is to say, who have looked into the window of Messrs. Fowler of Evesham, to discover something of the beauty of the work of Mr. Towers. We have all known of him as an artist, but that picture reveals something of his power and artistic ability not known before by more than just a few, for it was typical of him that he never revealed his real self to any but his inner circle of friends. What he lost by this, he alone could judge; what we lost by his retiring disposition and absolute dislike of all that savoured of publicity and admiration is more easy to estimate. He has now passed to the life where the secrets of all hearts are open and revealed, and where he will see in its perfection that Beauty which he was always seeking in Nature and Music. To Mrs. Towers and her family, we offer respectful sympathy.

Local examples of his work

All of Harvington

Hilda Nicholson Brazier 1896-1978
Hilda Brazier was the daughter of Samuel & Edith Towers. Hilda was married in Harvington 1921 to Ralph Leonard Brazier and they lived in The Close in Station Road. She was a trained draftswoman and painted, mostly still life. One of her works was exhibited at the Royal Academy. Hilda Brazier died in 1978. The following examples are a set of six delightful small original paintings that are displayed in a Harvington WI scrapbook of 1965, now lodged in Worcestershire Record Office.

Local examples of her work

All of Harvington

Beatrice ffield 1865-1947
Emma D’Inry Beatrice Hays, daughter of William Hays of Nevern Square, London. She married John Bernard Edmund ffield of the Round House, Addlestone, Chertsey, Surrey in 1901. In 1914 they were living at the Old Bank House, Coleshill, Worcs, where he was styled Manufacturer. He died in Meriden 1916 aged 53. She was an artist and exhibited at the R.A. in London. Beatrice moved to Crooked Walls, Harvington, as a widow in the late 1920s. It is not known how she came to know of Crooked Walls and Harvington but it is possibly via Samuel Towers. All we know of her work are a number of scenes of Crooked Walls, one is a damaged painting in our possession and the rest are copies held by the family in America. She died in 1947.

Local examples of her work

All of Crooked Walls.

Alfred Robert Quinton 1854-1934
A R Quinton didn't live in Harvington but he almost certainly stayed with and therefore must have known Samuel and Edith Towers. Quinton was an English watercolour artist known for his paintings of British villages and landscapes, many of which were published as postcards and illustrations in books on old England, such as: P. H. Ditchfield and A. R. Quinton Rural England; A. G. Bradley The Avon and Shakespeare's Country. publ. E. P. Dutton & Co. 1910; Ditchfield, P. H. The Cottages and the Village Life of Rural England, pub. J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, 1912.

Local examples of his work


Harvington Weir.


Mill at Cleeve Prior.

Ernest Albert Chadwick 1876-1955
E A Chadwick RI RBSA, painter and wood engraver, born in Marston Green, Warwickshire, the son of wood engraver John William Chadwick. His only known painting in Harvington is that of The Limes, but there well may be others and it does indicate that he had visited Harvington, was he another contact of Samuel Towers?

Local example of his work

Jago Stone 1928-1988
Rob Donovan has recently written a book titled The Remarkable Life of Jago Stone: Once a Burglar, Always an Artist. "The Remarkable Life of Jago Stone tells of the life and times of the prize-winning burglar-turned-international artist, Jago Stone (1928-88). It is a fascinating story of a charismatic rebel who enjoyed tilting at the windmills of conformity." In 1981 my wife Joy noticed a man painting in pen and ink outside Crooked Walls. She then purchased the finished item. It is apparent that he also painted the school in 1985.

Local examples of his work

Peter Hemming
Peter Hemming is an 'international artist' now living in Durham. Peter was born in Evesham and when he was about two years old his family moved to Harvington. His dad was from Church Lench and his mother came from Coleraine in Northern Ireland. They lived in number 5 Glebe Cottages in Village Street.

One can view some of his fine paintings plus details of his book Oil Paint and Greece: Memories of Kefalonia, on his website Email: Peter visits Harvington regularly and has kindly allowed us to exhibit one of his paintings.

Local examples of his work


Michael Baxter 2012

There are a several sketches that are unnamed therefore they has not been included. There were also a number of artist photographers who were practising their craft in Harvington from the 1880s onwards. The subjects would be mostly street scenes and not just casual snapshots as equipment had to be set up and scenes chosen. Some of the early photographs of Harvington are works of art in themselves and should not be dismissed. These photographic scenes can be studied in detail in the 'Pictures' page.