Lines and Colors art blog

Francis Seymour Haden, etching

Francis Seymour Haden, etchings and drawings

Francis Seymour Hayden was a successful surgeon, and also a dedicated and influential etcher. Active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Hayden was already an etcher when James McNeill Whistler became his brother-in-law.

Hayden was enthusiastic in his studies of past paster of printmaking, so much so that created an noted catalogue of Rembrandt’s etchings and wrote an important monograph, The Etched Work of Rembrandt critically reconsidered.

Among the examples of his work on the web, you will also find some accomplished pencil drawings and watercolors.


5 responses to “Francis Seymour Hayden”

  1. Undoubtedly the two most important British etchers of the nineteenth century are James A. McNeil Whistler and his brother-in-law, Sir Francis Seymour Haden. Haden was one of the first etchers of the time to take his plates outdoors and work directly from nature. He encouraged and influenced his brother-in-law to do the same, so much so that Whistler dedicated his first set of etchings, The French Set, to Haden. When Whistler moved to London in 1859 he was a frequent visitor to Haden’s household and produced both etchings and paintings of the family members. Several years later, however, serious rifts became apparent between these two great artists. In Paris in 1867 an argument resulted in Whistler pushing Haden through a plate-glass window. Haden and Whistler never spoke to each other again.

    Sir Francis Seymour Haden’s artistic career is all the more remarkable in the fact that he was an ‘amateur’. A leading surgeon of obstetrics, he was educated at Derby School, Christ’s Hospital and University College, London. He then completed his medical education at the Sorbonne, Paris and in Grenoble. Haden was a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (1857), a consulting surgeon to the Chapel Royal, vice-president of the Obstetrical Society of London and one of the founders of the Royal Hospital for Incurables (1850).

    Seymour Haden’s first etchings date from 1843 when he visited Italy, but most of his work in this medium does not begin until 1858. In total he created slightly over 250 original etchings, the majority being landscapes. He achieved an international fame in this area and his landscape compositions are distinguished by his mastery of foliage, water and atmospheric effects. Seymour Haden served as president of the Society of Painter-Etchers, was elected a member of the Athenaeum (1891) and was knighted in 1894. He also received an honorary membership from the Institut de France (1905) and the Societe des Artistes Francais. Haden was the author of The Etched Work of Rembrandt (1879) and The Art of the Painter-Etchers (1891).
    Source: YouTube by Bigfish Hugo

  2. Art in general ís definitely relaxing and calming.
    The reason Haden sought relaxation from his professional work of surgeon, which he pursued till 1887, in the art and study of etching.

  3. Portrait of Sir Francis Seymour Haden, 74-years-old, painted by George Percy Jacomb-Hood in 1892.

  4. The result of some art, these eye-leading-pathway scenes especially, certainly is relaxing to view. I especially enjoyed travelling my eye through the internal rooms.
    I expect his drawing was a good break from the surgery.

  5. Thanks for the comments. I think his study of Rembrandt and association with Whistler served him well in his self-study of etching. If I were to name my two favorite masters of the medium, it would be Rembrandt an Whistler.