Object in Focus - Joseph Cranstone painting

Oil painting of food on round table outdoors

To continue our activities commemorating our 30th year, we thought we would share another of our selected 30 objects from the collection.

Our student Mu has been working on photographing all of these objects and now that we have our new website in place we can now start the job of uploading them to the site. In our 107th newsletter today, we will be showing you the history of the oil painting by Lefevre Cranstone.

The painting is of the artist’s father, Mr Joseph Cranstone, resting after a game of croquet.  It was conserved recently through the AIM Conservation Grant, supported by the Pilgrim Trust.  There was a large tear through the middle and the conservator was able to repair it to a point where you would have never known there was once a hole in the middle of the canvas.

The Cranstone family were iron mongers and first came to live in Hemel Hempstead in 1798. Lefevre’s father set up on iron foundry on their Market Street premises, known as the Phoenix Works. The Cranstones were also prominent members of the Quaker church, attending the nearby Meeting House on St Mary’s Road. Lefevre James Cranstone was born in Hemel Hempstead in 1822. He developed an interest in art from an early age and was enrolled at Henry Sass’s School of Art in 1838 before entering the Royal Academy School as a probationer in 1840.

During his artistic career, he exhibited several paintings at the Royal Academy and at the Society of British Artists, yet he never achieved national recognition from his Victorian audience.

Lefevre is perhaps best known abroad, particularly in the USA. He visited America in 1859 producing over 300 sketches. Today, many of his works are in notable American institutions, including the art collection at The White House and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Oil painting - man sat oon bench in a tent
Joseph Cranstone by Victorian artist Lefevre Cranstone, of the influential Cranstone family of Hemel Hempstead.© The Dacorum Heritage Trust Ltd

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