Born at the height of the British Empire in the house directly opposite Horsham Museum & Art Gallery, Philip Hugh Padwick was an artist whose popularity shone brightly in the early years of the twentieth century, but dimmed as fashion and tastes changed.
Born on 28th April 1876 to wealthy parents, Philip was the youngest of six sons. The Padwick family had a hint of scandal about them as his grandfather had befriended young wealthy men in London clubs, lending them money to gamble with. Then he would call in the loans early, force them to sell cheaply to him and thus take over their property. A scandalous satire was published around the time of Philip’s birth, revealing all to those in the know.
In Horsham, the well-respected Treadcroft family found itself in the same situation and Padwick took over their family home, the Manor House on Horsham’s Causeway.
It is not surprising that Philip’s father and mother strove to become pillars of society. However, it was rather surprising that they allowed their son to become a professional landscape artist. By the age of 25 he was earning a living by painting views of Sussex around Arundel, Clymping, Pulborough, Rye and Winchelsea.
Padwick lived at Fittleworth, where the family had land, and he developed a style that looked back to the eighteenth century.
His colours were bold, the paint more impressionistic and the detail more fluid than defined but still Padwick’s oils have great charm.
In the era of Downton Abbey, Georgian-style oils were very popular as Old Masters were being collected, and an artist that could capture that and interpret the modern day view might have a successful career. Philip Padwick died in 1958 at Midhurst, West Sussex, aged 82.
Jeremy Knight, Heritage and Museum Manager, Horsham Museum & Art Gallery