SMYTHE, Edward Robert

1810 - 1899

Edward Robert Smythe

Edward Robert Smyth[e] was born at Berners Street, Ipswich in 1810 and baptised St Nicholas Church, Ipswich on 10 February 1815, son of James Smyth (1780-1863) and his wife Sarah Harriet née Skitter (1783-1845), who married at Norwich on 14 June 1811; James was an accountant with bankers Bacon, Cobbold, Durningham & Cobbold in Tavern Street, Ipswich who added a final 'e' to his surname. Edward attended the school of Robert Burcham Clamp at Ipswich and had a liking for a military career but his love of art took his fancy. Elected a member of the Ipswich Society of Professional and Amateur Artists on 1 March 1832 and attended his first meeting on 18 November the same year and was working under Henry Davy and where he met many local artist members. In his younger days he had a studio in the Old Shire Hall, Ipswich where he painted with artists such as Samuel Read, Wat Hagreen, Frederick Brett Russel and Robert Burrows. About 1840, he moved to Norwich to study the Norwich School of Painters where he became acquainted with Robert Ladbrooke’s son, Frederick Ladbrooke and is said to have worked with John Sell Cotman (1782-1842), but returned to Ipswich some five years later, taking a house in Bramford Road. He married at Ipswich on 15 March 1848, Ellen Burman (1827-1879) of Ipswich and where his first child Edward Robert, jun. was born the following year. Edward was of Berners Street, Ipswich when declared insolvent at Ipswich on 13 September 1850 and in 1851, giving his age as 32, was living at Elmswell, Suffolk with his 24-year-old wife Ellen and son but later that year moved to 3 Angel Hill, Bury St Edmund’s, where he kept company with his friend Fred Ladbrooke. By 1861, still at Angel Hill, they had further children born at Bury St Edmund’s, Francis (Frank) Rowland 1852, Ellen Kate 1854 and Mary Emily 1856, their daughter Louisa Jane, died at Angel Hill, Bury St Edmund’s on 7 April 1861, aged 3 years and 7 months. Smythe exhibited at the Suffolk Fine Arts Association at the New Lecture Hall of the Mechanics' Institution, Ipswich in August 1850, several oil paintings including 'Chapel Viaduct, Colne Valley', 'A Group of Animals', 'A Sketch Ploughing', 'Ponies and a Dog' and 'A Landscape', and a watercolour 'The Ruling Passion strong in Death' and was also a member and exhibitor at the Ipswich Fine Art Club 1886-1898 and in 1889 at the Woodbridge Art Exhibition at the Assembly Room, Bull Hotel, Woodbridge had several oil paintings on display including 'Horses at Marsh', 'Donkeys' and 'Early Morn'. As Smyth, he also exhibited at the Royal Academy and five works at the British Institution including 'Pony and Boy' and 'The Village Blacksmith'. In 1865, Edward was living at 98 Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmund’s, and his wife died at 69 Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmund’s in 1879, aged 52. By 1891 he had moved in with his married daughter Ellen Kate, who had married at St Matthew’s church Ipswich on 10 May 1886, George Robert Chilvers, a tobacco manufacturer, at Burlington Lodge, 30 Burlington Road, Ipswich. Edward Robert Smythe died at 30 Burlington Road, Ipswich on Wednesday, 5 July 1899, aged 88, and was buried in Ipswich cemetery three days later. Five of his painting were on show at the Centenary exhibition of the Ipswich Art Club in 1974, a pastel 'Crossing the Stream', and oils 'Beach Scene', 'Knife Grinders' and 'The Squires Son' and a drawing 'Gipsies by the Wayside'. His oil 'The Charge of Balaclava' was bequeathed to Queen Victoria and is at Windsor Castle and in recent years he has regained something of the prestige that he held during his lifetime and his oil 'Woolpit Horse Fair' realised £39,650 at Bonham's London auction in 2011.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from Ipswich
1850 391 View in the Colne Valley, at Chappel, Essex
from Bury St Edmund's
1854 415 A Gipsy Scene
1855 661 Beach Scene
1860 111 The Return from Market

Works by This Artist