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 Charles Napier Hemy  (1841 - 1917)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/England/France      Known for: landscape and marine painting, stained glass design

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Biography from Roger King Fine Art:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, Charles Napier Hemy emigrated with his family to Australia in 1852.  He returned to England three years later, signing aboard a merchant ship before making a decision to join a monastery.  He spent three years first at the Dominican House in Newcastle and then in a monastery in Lyons, France.

During that time he began to paint and decided to pursue art as a career.  He studied at the Newcastle School of Art with history painter William Bell Scott, a friend of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  Inspired by John Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelite painters, Hemy joined William Morris' Queen Square Stained Glass Workshop.  There he rendered the designs of artists like Edward Burne-Jones, Ford Maddox Ford, and Phillip Webb into working drawings for the glass painters and glaziers. Both Morris and Burne-Jones became close friends.

In 1862 Hemy saw the works of Belgian academic painter Baron Hendrik Leys at London's International Exhibition and decided to travel to Antwerp to study in Leys' atelier. 

Hemy exhibited at England's Royal Academy in 1869 and was elected to full membership in 1910.  From 1870 to 1881 he lived in London.  He later moved to Falmouth, where he fitted out a boat as a painting studio in order to follow fishing boats along the coast as he sketched them. 

A landscape as well as marine painter, Hemy's depiction of the open seas are particularly strong and vibrant, conveying a great sense of movement.

Among the museums containing his works are the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool; the Tate Gallery, London; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle; National Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

Hemy's younger brothers Thomas Hemy (1852-1937) and Bernard Benedict Hemy (1855-1913) were also marine painters.

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