St Catherine’s Chapel, The Fleet, Chesil Beach & Portland from Abbotsbury Hill. Dorset.
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Joseph Edward Hennah

Welsh ( b.1896 - d.1963 )

St Catherine’s Chapel, The Fleet, Chesil Beach & Portland from Abbotsbury Hill. Dorset.

  • Oil on canvas
  • Signed lower right

Image size 19.1 inches x 23.2 inches ( 48.5cm x 59cm )
Frame size 24.6 inches x 28.7 inches ( 62.5cm x 73cm )


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Available for sale from Big Sky Fine Art in the English county of Dorset, this original oil painting is by the Welsh artist Joseph Hennah which dates from the 1950s. The painting is presented and supplied in a sympathetic contemporary frame (which is shown in these photographs), mounted with new fixtures and is glazed.
The canvas and the painted surface have benefitted from cleaning, restoration and conservation, which was performed on our instruction, supervision and approval.
This vintage painting is now in good condition, defying its age. It wants for nothing and is supplied ready to hang and display.
The painting is signed lower right.
Previously with Messers. Frank Herring of 27 High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset.

Joseph Hennah was an acclaimed artist and etcher, who painted beautiful landscapes with great style and sensitivity.

He was born on 12th January 1896 in Raglan Street, Pillgwenlly, Newport, Monmouthshire, South Wales. His father was George Hennah, a former sailor, who at the time of Joseph’s birth was working at Newport Docks. Joseph had two elder brothers; Norman, a sailor, and Charles, who worked on the railways. Joseph attended school in Newport and left secondary education determined to be a professional artist, which must have seemed an unlikely prospect at the time.

For a while Joseph worked in a number of occupations in order to finance his art studies and his endeavours were rewarded when he won a scholarship to the Newport College of Art. He was also mentored by the well-known local artist Fred Richards.

Joseph’s progress as an artist was put on hold during the First World War, when he served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. After the Great War he returned home to Newport and married Muriel Hughes, with whom he had two daughters. They lived at Morden Road, and he had a studio at 12 Chepstow Road. Joseph began painting in earnest and his work was soon recognised. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1926 and 1927, and also with the South Wales Art Society and the Royal West of England Academy.

Around 1939 Joseph moved to the Weymouth area of Dorset and soon became involved in the art scene there. He was in particular closely involved in the setting up of the Weymouth and South Dorset Art Centre (sadly now defunct). In 1945 he married Delphine Mayberry, the eldest daughter of another Newport artist, Edgar James Mayberry. From 1958 to the time of his death he and Delphine lived in The Cottage, Nottington Lane, Nottington1896, a picturesque rural area on the outskirts of Weymouth.

Although he painted some portraits, Hennah is best known for his wonderful landscape paintings, both in oils and watercolour. He painted scenes around south Wales and the fishing villages of Cornwall. He also visited South Africa where he painted a large number of gouache works. After he moved to Dorset he captured the wonderful scenery and coastline there. He sometimes painted expansive and impressive landscapes (such as the painting illustrated here), but other times recorded the less obvious hedgerow, or corner of a farmyard, sensitive to the everyday beauty of his surroundings. His works demonstrate a real skill in balancing colour and tone, and he perfectly captures the atmosphere of the countryside which he loved so much.

Joseph died suddenly on 20th March 1963 on his way to an arts group meeting at the Art Centre. His works however live on in museums, including the Newport Museum and Art Gallery and the National Library of Wales, and in private collections all over the world.

© Big Sky Fine Art

This is an original oil on canvas painting by Joseph Hennah. It shows the amazing expansive view from Abbotsbury Hill, just west of Weymouth in Dorset, to the ruins of St Catherine’s Chapel on Chapel Hill, the famous Fleet and the Isle of Portland. There is a clear blue sky and the sea is calm. The muted warm colours suggest that this is a perfect afternoon in late summer.

St Catherine’s Chapel is a sturdily buttressed and barrel-vaulted chapel, built by the monks in the 14th century as a place of pilgrimage and retreat. It sits in splendid isolation overlooking Abbotsbury Abbey and is a popular walker’s destination today. The local parish holds occasional services there throughout the year which are open to the public.

The Fleet is a long, shallow stretch of water which forms England’s largest lagoon. It is home to the famous Abbotsbury Swannery.

Portland is a natural and ruggedly beautiful tied island which marks the southernmost point of the Jurassic Coastline.

This painting combines these unique and very special features in one stunning image.