Ralph Hedley was an influential figure in the North East art world, known for his scenes of everyday life in the North East and exhibiting paintings in Newcastle from 1878.
He was born in Richmond, Yorkshire, in 1848. His family moved to Newcastle two years later, where he later studied art and design at the government school. After serving his apprenticeship, Hedley established a successful wood carving business and examples of his work can be seen in churches across the North East.
Hedley’s painting career began later but was no less successful. He became known for his scenes of everyday life in the North East, exhibiting paintings in Newcastle from 1878. Between 1879 -1904, his paintings were regularly accepted and shown at the Royal Academy in London.
Ralph Hedley was an influential figure in the North East art world. He was producing work at a time when exhibition opportunities were not readily available to local artists. Today, over 60 of Hedley’s oil paintings are held and displayed by galleries and museums in Tyne & Wear. In addition the Laing Art Gallery holds a large archive of works on paper, some of which are included in this exhibition.
This exhibition commemorates the centenary of Hedley’s death in June 1913. The Newcastle Daily Chronicle said of him: ‘What Burns did for the peasantry of Scotland with his pen, Ralph Hedley with his brush and palette had done for the Northumberland miner and labouring man.’
Part of the Festival of the North East 2013.