Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hammersley, James Astbury

HAMMERSLEY, JAMES ASTBURY (1815–1869), painter, was born at Burslem, Staffordshire, in 1815. He received his art education under James Baker Pyne. From May 1849 till 31 Dec. 1862 he was head-master of the Manchester School of Design. On the formation of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, in which he took an active part, he was elected its first president, 28 May 1857. This office he resigned on 30 Dec. 1861. A landscape of large size and considerable merit, exhibited at the autumn exhibition of 1850, 'Mountain and Clouds, a scene from the top of Loughrigg Fell, Westmoreland,' he presented to the Royal Manchester Institution. This now hangs in the Corporation of Manchester Art Gallery, and is a good example of his work in oil. He had a commission from Prince Albert to paint a picture of the castle of Rosenau, the prince's birthplace, and another scene in Germany, which are in the collection at Windsor Castle. In 1850 he delivered an address at Nottingham on the 'Preparations on the Continent for the Great Exhibition of 1851, and the Condition of the Continental Schools of Art.' This was published in 1850, 8vo, pp. 16. An article by him appeared in 'Manchester Papers,' 1856, entitled 'Exhibition of Art Treasures of the United Kingdom,' anticipatory of the Manchester exhibition.

He died at Manchester in 1869, and was buried at St. John's Church, Higher Broughton.

[Stanfield's Cat. of Manchester Art Gallery, 1888, p. 43; private information.]

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