A View of Chiswick Mall, about 1870

from Brentford & Chiswick Local History Journal 6 (1997)

Chiswick, about 1870, by Elizabeth Isabella Smart

watercolour and pencil on paper 8.5in x 12.75in, acquired for Chiswick Library Local Studies Collection

This meticulous drawing of Chiswick Mall is doubly interesting in that it is a local view probably painted by a local artist. Sold by a London dealer in 1996, it was apparently extracted from an album of sketches and paintings of many different places, both in this country and abroad.
The album bore the coat of arms of the Smart family who lived at Rothbury House on Chiswick Mall between about 1852 and 1893. Admiral Sir Robert Smart (1796-1874) had several postings, including commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, and his family is known to have accompanied him on his travels. This painting is thought to be the work of his daughter, Elizabeth Isabella Smart. The watercolour shows St Nicholas Church with Fisherman’s Place (now gone) in the foreground. Fisherman’s Place (formerly known as Sluts Hole) was home to the locals whose occupations were connected with the river. The houses seen to the right of the church, along the Mall, still stand today – the Old Vicarage, Woodroffe House, Bedford House etc. Hounslow Leisure Services hopes to put this picture on display eventually, possibly in Boston Manor House.

Research in 2010 by Carolyn Hammond now suggests that Elizabeth Isabella was the Admiral’s wife and the daughter of Benjamin Sharpe. Sharpe passed Rothbury House to his daughter in 1836 and died 2 years later. The Admiral married Elizabeth Isabella in 1848.

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