A second painting by Lefevre Cranstone in the collection is this oil on canvas of Hemel Hempstead market. It includes members of the Cranstone family.
The Cranstone family were iron mongers and first came to live in Hemel Hempstead in 1798. Lefevre’s father set up an iron foundry on their Market Street premises, known as the Phoenix Works. You can still see many ironworks in the town such as The Grade II listed ‘fountain’ and gas lamp standard.
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.