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Watercolour Paintings of Hertfordshire by E A Phipson

Edward Arthur Phipson, or Evacustees A Phipson as he called himself, was born in 1854 in Kings Norton, Warwickshire and died in 1931 at Rye, Kent. He was a prolific water colour artist specialising in views painted with an almost photographic accuracy, some of which were made into post cards. He was clearly interested in recording historic buildings as exemplified by the long letter he wrote from Selly Oak, Worcestershire, to the Yorkshire Herald of 6th August, 1892 which begins:

Sir, - A visitor to your city is surprised to find that there is not apparently so universal an appreciation of those ancient buildings which are its chief glory as might be expected. Indeed to judge from the aspect of some of the streets, the ambition of many citizens seems to have been the destruction of everything that is picturesque and beautiful in them. ...

This was quickly followed by similar letters to the Lincolnshire Chronicle of 28th August and the Sheffield Daily Telegraph of 7th September. This love for old buildings is clearly illustrated by the subjects chosen for his paintings which typically record the old architectural features of towns and villages across the country, and also in Europe. The existence of many local collections in museums and art galleries suggest that the following extract from a Council meeting, reported in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer of 5th February 1916 was typical.

Mr E. A. Phipson, who is making for the Museum a pictorial survey of the older parts of the town, finished thirty-four drawings during the year, and they were purchased on extremely favourable terms. Mr. Phipson also allowed a selection to be made from his portfolios of 105 water-colour sketches of ancient buildings (mainly houses) in the areas of Belgium and France that have suffered most from the German invasion. These sketches have been on exhibition since August and have attracted considerable attention.

In about 1900 he was in Hertfordshire painting views.

Bridge Street, Hitchin


Market Place, Hitchin
showing Gatward's Shop

Other Pictures in Hitchin Museum and shown on its web site:

  • Alfred Cottages

  • Queen Street

  • Halls Yard

  • The George Inn Yard

  • Red Hart Pub

  • Bucklersbury

  • Tilers' Street

  • Logsdon's Yard

  • Sunnyside

Hollow Lane, Hitchin


Pictures of St Albans in St Albans Museum

The Cock Inn (on right) with St Peters Church in distance


E. A. Phipson was one of England's most prolific landscape watercolourists, Phipson was christened Edward Arthur, however as a young man he developed a keen interest in languages which led him to change his name to the Greek Word Evacustes meaning 'ready listener'. His paintings represent an idealised image of a time of great change. He omitted the lamp posts, telegraph poles and motor cars that spoilt a good view. The St Albans museum under the direction of Frederick Kitton purchased a large collection of his Hertfordshire watercolours between 1900 and 1910 whilst he was living in London.

Other Undated Hertfordshire Paintings

Several of the Phipson pictures are reproduced in St Albans - A History, including the one of Chequer Street.


Other dated Hertfordshire watercolour paintings in the Museum

Chapman's Yard, Watford, 1901

Leathersellers' Yard, Watford

Woodman's Yard, Watford, 1928

from Watford - A Pictorial Record

For other pictures by Evacutes Phipson see Paintings and Watercolour Drawings in the Watford Museum

Castle Farm, Wheathampstead, painted 1901
picture owned by David Baker (see page on Castle Farm)


"Quaint Corners" Bishops Stortford, by E. A. Phipson
Raphael Tuck & Sons "Oilette"  no 6227

Nick (nick.flack @t 0f Greenwich writes: I have an E A Phipson water colour. It has been in the family for some 30+ years its of a public house, the Kings Arms, King William Street, Greenwich. My parents were the tenants and it hung on the wall all the time we were there. It is dated 1927 and looks nothing like that now. Its not the best of his works for detail, going by his other works. It was was said in his later years he done this type of water colour for a "pie & a pint." Would that be correct?

While I have not heard this it is extremely likely. The evidence from his earlier years is that he almost certainly called at houses and offered to paint them for a small fee. I have seen one other of his very late paintings, which was pretty poor. I suspect his eyesight was failing and the idea that he would paint a picture of a public house to get a meal seems very likely.

If you know of the location of any other Hertfordshire views by E. A. Phipson please tell me.


Edward (Evacustes) Arthur Phipson (1854-1931) He was the son of Edward Phipson (1807-1869 ) and Jane Smith Petford (1831/2-1868). Edward was the son of Joseph Phipson (1778-1864) and Sarah Thring (1780??-1848). This Joseph was the son of Joseph Phipson (1745-1806) and Ann Howell (1750?-1787?) - my wife's ancestors.

See my book The Phipson One Name Study, 1988


April 2010   Genealogy Note - and link to St Albans book
November 2013   Newspaper reports relating to his paintings.


 I have decided to append a list of dated painting for outside Hertfordshire to try and track down his movements.

1886 Market Place, Raaben (Christie's Auction)

1896 Deblungsnaes [Pat]
1898 Aldengund [Pat]
1899 Babenhausen [Pat]
18?? Leeuwarden [Pat]
1899 Stuttgart  [ebay sale]
1900 Krems [Pat]


John Foregate's web pages include many Phipson pictures of Worcester  (mostly postcards?) for the years 1898, 1901, 1905

1903 Derby, Derbyshire - see [Picture, Picture]

1905 Stephenson House in Hetton le Hole, Durham
Geoff Pratt (geoff @t says: I have a watercolour he painted in 1905. I think it is of Stephenson House in Hetton le Hole, Durham. It was the home of George Stephenson the famous engineer.

1906 Bridgenorth, Shrewsbury, Worcester [Postcards]

1907 Worcester  [Postcards]

A letter to The Times in November 1907 about preserving an old building gives his address as 2, Tithing, Worcester

1910 Croydon, The Shambles [Robert] Shrewsbury  [Postcards]

1912 Shrewsbury  [Postcards]

1921 Deptford [Old Deptford History]

1922 Deptford [Formally on Lewisham council web site]

1921 Coulsdon Church (near Croydon) [Robert]


1924 Croydon (Shirley Park Hotel) [Robert]

He is known to have produced a number of paintings which were published as postcards by L. Wilding & Son Limited, Shrewsbury.

[Pat] Pat Fitz-patrick {pjs @t}
[Postcards] Various postcards in my possession
[Robert] Robert Sawford {robert.sewford @t}

July 2010   re painting of Greenwich pub