A significant omission in Illustration and the Novels of Thomas Hardy by Arlene M. Jackson (1981) is the illustrator of Hardy's last short story, "A Changed Man." Although Jackson has provided commentaries on the artists who between 1870 and 1896 executed the illustrations for the monthly parts of such novels as Jude the Obscure when they appeared in such periodicals as Harper's New Monthly Magazine, she has failed to deal with any of the illustrators of the fourteen short stories that Hardy published between December 1888 and 1903.

The boundary line between Gloucestershire and Wiltshire was only a quarter of a mile back along the road to Chippenham. It It did not take long to make up my mind that I had come to the right place to study English country life and character. Owing to the fact that I was living at the vicarage [in Acton Turville], I was soon on easy terms with all the village. The isolation from the railway, contrived for the amenities of the great house, resulted in the fact that most of the labourers were born and bred there of within a few miles. In these days of motor-buses [i. e., the late 1930s] it is surprising to remember how little people moved about in country places even thirty years ago — ten or twelve miles was the radius. It was like living with the characters in Thomas Hardy's novels, with most of which I was already familiar. I had even made a sketch of Hardy a year or so before at a matinee of a one-act play, the first of his efforts at playwriting. I used to go to London from time to time to collect work, and G. R. Halkett, who had become Editor of The Pall Mall Magazine, proved a good friend and helped me by sending me to illustrate most of the stories of country life which he was publishing in the magazine. . . . [A. S. Hartrick 165]

With his obvious sympathy for English village life and character, it is a pity that "A Changed Man" is the only work by Hardy that Hartrick illustrated, in the new medium that would shortly transform magazine illustration, the lithograph. Although born in Bangalore, Madras, India on 7 August 1864, Archibald Standish Hartrick, son of an Anglo-Irish father, Captain William Hartrick of the 7th Royal Fusiliers (a cousin of Anglo-Irish novelist Charles Lever), A. S. Hartrick regarded himself as a Scot, the Rose Bradwardine of Sir Walter Scott's Waverley being modeled on his mother's ancestor, Mary Stewart of Invernahyle. After his father died on active service at the age of 38, Archibald's mother took him as a two-year-old back to her home at Rhu on the Gareloch, in Dumbartonshire, Scotland. Out of respect for his stepfather, Dr. Charles Blatherwick (a talented water-colourist and Chief Inspector of Alkali Works for Scotland), A. S. Hartrick went from prep school at Fettes to the School of Medicine at Edinburgh University.

However, bent on becoming an artist rather than a physician, he attended the Slade School of Art in London, then moved to Paris with a group of Slade and Royal Academy students, attending first the Attelier Julian, and then the Attelier Cormon. By the time he exhibited his first painting at the Paris Salon, he had already become friends with Paul Gaugin, whom he met while painting one summer at Pont-Aven, Britanny, in 1886, and with Vincent Van Gogh and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, whom he met upon returning to Paris. He greatly admired the way in which Toulouse-Lautrec applied his considerable scientific knowledge of colour to lithography production (eventually, Hartrick became a founding member of London's Senefelder Club, named after the artist who had invented lithography in 1771). Briefly returning to his home on the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, in 1887, he joined a group of young, Paris-trained painters in the "Glasgow School," but found earning a living difficult there. Moving to London in 1889, where the need for graphic artists for the new black-and-white illustrated magazines was great, he met the American lithographer Joseph Pennell and the painter James McNeil Whistler. Although his later lithographs do not reveal their influence, as a young artist earning his living with various illustrated weeklies, Hartrick much admired the work of Charles Keene (a Punch staffer) and other Sixties black-and-white artists, in particular Fred Walker and George Du Maurier. Working at The Pall Mall Budget, he met up-and-coming writer H. G. Wells; his great friend, George Halkett, the magazine's editor; and contemporary artists Harry Furniss, John Singer Sargent, and Phil May. On assignment for The Daily Graphic, which had hired him on the strength of a few illustrations that had appeared in Good Words, he was cruising in the Mediterranean when he met novelist Thomas Mann. Indeed, there is scarcely an important figure in the arts of the fin-de-siecle whom he had not met.

At the end of the 1890s Hartrick and his wife (and stepsister), the artist Lily Blatherwick, settled in the small Cotswold village of Tresham, near the Bath-Gloucester Road. For ten years she painted while he made a living free-lancing for various London periodicals. The Boer War had just begun, and Hartrick found himself transforming battle sketches into finished lithographs for the editor of a newly established illustrated magazine, The Sphere. From the well-stocked library at nearby Alderly House Hartrick borrowed such books on military history as "Wellington's Despatches, Kingslake's Crimea, [and] Mercer's Journal of the Battle of Waterloo (175) at the same time that he was painting his celebrated series of country types, and "continuing with [his] real work of illustration, to keep the pot boiling" (175). This, then, is the context in which he illustrated Hardy's tale of fashionable country-life and self-sacrifice in an urban slum, "A Changed Man."

From 1895 through 1907 (when he and his wife moved back to London from Tresham) he exhibited his landscapes and character studies at the Royal Academy, achieving the distinction of being elected an Associate of the Royal Society of Painters in Water-colours (R. W. S.) in March, 1908, by which time he had also become drawing-master at the London County Council School of Arts and Crafts at Camberwell, secured through testimonials of Sir George Clausen, John Sargent, William Strang, and Sir Charles Holroyd. He could afford only a modest house in the suburbs, near Parson's Green in Fulham, Chelsea (75 Clancarty Road). By the outbreak of WWI, he was teaching both day- and evening-classes at the L. C. C. Central School of Arts and Crafts in Southampton Row. During zepplin raids, he would accompany his students taking shelter in the London Underground or "Tube." Immediately after the war he was commissioned by the Underground to complete a portfolio of lithographs on "War Work," very like those entitled "Women's Work" that he executed for the British government during the war. Author of a highly anecdotal autobiography of his half-century in art published at the outbreak of the Second World War, A. S. Hartrick died in his eighty-seventh year, in London on 1 February 1950.

Reference

Hartrick, A. S. (R. W. S.) A Painter's Pilgrimage Through Fifty Years. Cambridge: Cambridge U. P., 1939.


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Last modified 17 August 2008