Sir Hubert Von Herkomer, 1849 - 1914
Portrait of Charles Stuart Parker , MP 1829 - 1910
Portrait of Charles Stuart Parker , MP
oil on canvas
91.44 x 71.12 cm. (36 x 28 in.)


Charles Stuart Parker,(1829–1910), politician and biographer, born at Aigburth, Liverpool, on 1 June 1829, was the eldest son of Charles Stewart Parker of Fairlie, Ayrshire, a partner in the prosperous Liverpool firm of Sandbach, Tinne & Co., merchants for the West Indies. His mother was Anne, eldest daughter of Samuel Sandbach of Hafodunnos, Denbighshire. Thomas Chalmers, a friend of his paternal grandparents, was one of Parker's godfathers, and he was throughout life influenced by the evangelical temper of his home training. On 13 August 1838 his father's sister Annie married Edward (afterwards Viscount) Cardwell, whose political views he came to share. Parker was at Eton College from 1842 to 1847, and in 1846 won the prince consort's prize for German. On 10 June 1847 he matriculated from Brasenose College, Oxford, but the next year migrated to University College where he had won a scholarship. There he began a long and close association with the college and formed friendships with A. P. Stanley, Goldwin Smith, John Conington, Arthur Gray Butler, William Bright, and T. W. Jex-Blake. Friends at other colleges included A. W. Peel (afterwards speaker of the House of Commons), G. C. Brodrick, T. H. Green, G. J. Goschen, W. H. Fremantle, Frederic Harrison, and Grant Duff. In 1852 he joined Goschen, Brodrick, and others in starting the Oxford Essay Club, and he frequently attended the club dinners in later life, at Goschen's house and elsewhere. In Easter term 1852 Parker was placed in the first class in literae humaniores, and in the second class of the mathematical school, graduating BA and proceeding to MA in 1855. He was a fellow of his college from 1854 until 1868, and lived in Oxford until 1864, throwing himself with vigour into the work of both college and university. He was college tutor from 1858 to 1865, and was one of the first lecturers in modern history. He was examiner in literae humaniores in 1859, 1860, 1863, and 1868. He won the confidence of undergraduates, and introduced them to men of note from the outer world, whom from an early date he entertained at Oxford. He organized the university volunteer corps and did much while major of the battalion (1865–8) to improve its efficiency, especially in shooting. The main recreation of his university days was mountaineering. He preferred climbing without guides, and it was without guides that he, with his brothers Sandbach and Alfred, made the second and fourth attempts on the Matterhorn in 1860 and 1861 respectively. Subsequently Parker's climbing companions included W. H. Gladstone and Stephen Gladstone, sons of the statesman, who was a friend of Parker and his family. Like Brodrick, Goldwin Smith, and other Oxford men, Parker was a contributor to the early issues of the Saturday Review in 1855, but he soon withdrew owing to his dislike of the cynical tone of the paper, and a characteristic impatience of its partisan, tory spirit. He gradually concentrated his interest on liberal reform of the university. He especially urged a prudent recognition of the claims of science, modern history, and modern languages in the academic curriculum, and the throwing open of scholarships to competition. He was an early supporter of a national system of elementary education which should be efficient and compulsory, rather than voluntary. In 1867 he published two essays, one on ‘Popular education’, in Questions for a Reformed Parliament, arguing that only a reformed parliament would pass an adequate elementary education measure, and the other on ‘Classical education’, in F. W. Farrar's Essays on a Liberal Education. In 1864 Parker, who inherited ample means, diversified his academic duties by becoming private secretary to his uncle, Edward Cardwell, who was then colonial secretary, working for him until he went out of office in 1866. At the wish of Gladstone, with whom his relations steadily became closer, Parker stood for Perthshire in 1868 as a Liberal. He gained a startling victory over the former Conservative member, Sir William Stirling Maxwell, who regained the seat from him at the general election of 1874. Parker was however elected for the city of Perth in 1878, and retained the seat until 1892, when he was defeated in a three-cornered contest. He failed to win a seat in West Perthshire in 1900. He was a competent back-bencher but a poor speaker. He never held ministerial office, nor appears to have been offered it. But he was quite close to the Peelites among the Liberal leadership, and prepared for publication Gladstone's Midlothian speeches of 1879–80. It was on educational policy that Parker exerted his chief influence. Joining the public schools commission (1868–74), he proved one of its most active members, urging that the public school curriculum should be modernized in sympathy with a progressive policy at the universities. He also sat on the commission for military education in 1869, and advocated the linking up of the public schools with Sandhurst and Woolwich, so as to ensure a broad general culture before technical and professional training. Again, as a member of the Scottish educational endowments commission in 1872, he argued persistently that the benefits of endowments should go ‘not to the most necessitous of those fairly fitted intellectually, but to the most fit among those who were fairly necessitous’. His views greatly stimulated the development of secondary education in Scotland: he wished the Scottish elementary schools to form a ‘ladder’ to the university, and he sought to protect them from the evil system of ‘payment by results’. He was in 1887 chairman of a departmental committee on higher education in the elementary schools of Scotland, and wrote its report with Sir Henry Craik. Parker, whose wide interests embraced a precise study of scientific hypotheses, in his later years became an important historian of the Peelites. His Sir Robert Peel from his Private Papers (3 vols., 1891–9), for which he was given special access by Gladstone and others, remains an important source, as does his Life and Letters of Sir James Graham (2 vols., 1907). He was elected honorary fellow of University College in 1899, and was made honorary LLD of Glasgow and honorary DCL of Oxford in 1908. In 1907 he was sworn of the privy council. Parker died unmarried at his London house, 32 Old Queen Street, Westminster, on 18 June 1910, and was buried at Fairlie. He bequeathed £5000 to University College, Oxford, where two Parker scholarships for modern history were established but later discontinued. rev. H. C. G. Matthew DNB 

Artist biography

Herkomer was born at Waal, in Bavaria. His family was poor and his mother tried to supplement the earnings of his father by giving music lessons. Once his mother gave him a half sovereign for some shopping: "It was the last piece of gold in the place. Lorenz Herkomer, his father and a wood-carver of great ability, left Bavaria in 1851 with his wife and child for the United States, settling in Cleveland, Ohio. They soon returned to Europe and settled in Southampton in 1857, before moving to a house called Dyreham in Bushey in 1874 (by this time Herkomer's father had remarried to a lady called Anna Weise). Hubert's education was slight: "He went to school for a month or two, and, falling ill never returned." (Chums) In a lengthy interview for Chums boys' annual in 1896 Herkomer recalled his childhood. "We had an anxious time of it when I was a boy. We were constantly in want of money..... I was always inclined to art, and as a little boy worked principally at my father's bench, but by the time I had turned twelve I had produced quite a number of water-colour drawings. The reputation I gained among my play fellows, however, was as a maker of kites." He also crafted mechanical toys including clowns and wagons to give to his friends. He lived for some time at Southampton and in the school of art there began his art training. An uncle in America commissioned his father to carve the four Evangelists in wood. Receiving some money his father determined to take Hubert to Munich so that he could study art whilst his father worked on the carving. In Chums 1896 he recalled his trip vividly: "Ah, how I remember that first visit to Germany! ... We crossed to Antwerp in a cattle boat ... And never shall I forget the miseries of that voyage. And then there were the railway carriages on the other side. We were compelled to travel fourth-class, in the company of people who were no less filthy than the carriages; and I remember.....I swore a big oath that if ever I had any money I would travel in the most luxurious style possible. I have never forgotten that oath." The pair led a hard life whilst in Munich, but he stated that "they were very happy days" and his father sat as model for him during that time. In 1866 he entered upon a more serious course of study at the South Kensington Schools, and in 1869 exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy. He sold his first picture for two guineas but by the time he was twenty-four he had sold a picture for five hundred pounds. In same year, he also began working as an illustrator for the newly founded newspaper The Graphic, a deliberate rival of the Illustrated London News. It was by his 1875 oil, The Last Muster, after a woodblock from 1871, that he definitely established his position as an artist of high distinction at the Academy. He was elected an associate of the Academy in 1879, and academician in 1890; an associate of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1893, and a full member in 1894; and in 1885 he was appointed Slade professor at Oxford, a position which he held until 1894.In 1899 he was ennobled as "Ritter von Herkomer" by King Otto of Bavaria, who appointed him Knight of the Merit Order of the Bavarian Crown. The same year, he was awarded the Pour le Mérite for Arts by Kaiser Wilhelm II. In 1907 he was knighted by King Edward VII. He exhibited a very large number of memorable portraits, figure subjects and landscapes, in oil and watercolour; he achieved marked success as a worker in enamel, as an etcher, mezzotint engraver and illustrative draughtsman; and he exercised wide influence upon art education by means of the Herkomer School (Incorporated), at Bushey, which he founded in 1883 and directed without payment until 1904, when he retired. It was later voluntarily wound up in 1926 having been run up to that time by Lucy Kemp-Welch, and is now defunct. Despite being a prominent member of Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers, as well as being on familiar terms with the royal family, Herkomer was never totally accepted by the British establishment: He was ultimately a victim of the deteriorating relationship between Great Britain and Germany, where he shuttled in between, spending most of his summers in Bavaria. Herkomer's massive house, Lululaund, named after Lulu Griffith, second of his three wives, served as his studio, school, theatre and movie studio, where he put on productions of his own plays and musical compositions. It was designed by the prominent American architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Herkomer painted a portrait of the architect.Four of his pictures, Found (1885), Sir Henry Tate (1897), Portrait of Lady Tate (1899) and The Council of the Royal Academy (1908), are in the national collection at Tate. In 1907, he received the honorary degree of DCL at Oxford, and a knighthood was conferred upon him by the king in addition to the commandership of the Royal Victorian Order with which he was already decorated.Herkomer was also a pioneering filmmaker. He established a studio in Lululaund and directed some seven historical costume dramas, designed to be shown accompanied by his own music. None of them seem to have survived.Herkomer died at Budleigh Salterton on 31 March 1914 and was buried in St James's church, Bushey. Von Herkomer has paintings in several British Collections including Manchester Art Gallery, Leeds Art Gallery, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, Oldham, Derby Art Gallery and the City of London.[1] The largest collection of his work is held by Bushey Museum, UK, and some is in the Herkomer Museum, Landsberg am Lech, Germany. DNB