Frederick Daniel Hardy

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The First Birthday Party

Frederick Daniel Hardy (13 February 1827 – 1 April 1911)[1] was an English genre painter and member of the Cranbrook Colony.


Hardy was born in Windsor in Berkshire, one of six children of George Hardy (b. Ca. 1796), a musician to George IV, Queen Adelaide and Queen Victoria in the Royal household at Windsor. Frederick enrolled at the Academy of Music, Hanover Square, at the age of seventeen. He studied for three years, but finally abandoned music for art, following his eldest brother George Hardy (1822–1909), an established painter.

Hardy remained in Windsor until his marriage on 11 March 1852 to Rebecca Sophia Dorrofield (c.1828–1906).[2] After living for some years at Snell's Wood, near Amersham, Buckinghamshire, they settled at 2 Waterloo Place, Cranbrook, Kent in 1854, where they stayed until 1875, moving first to Kensington, London, then returning to Cranbrook about 1893. The marriage produced five sons and a daughter.

Like Webster, his mentor who joined him at Cranbrook in 1857 (and was related to Frederick's mother) Hardy specialised in light-hearted scenes depicting children in detailed Victorian rooms, and also painted portraits. He exhibited ninety-three pictures at the Royal Academy from 1851 to 1898 and five at the British Institution between 1851 and 1856.

Hardy died in Cranbrook in April 1911 and was buried beside his wife in St Dunstan's churchyard. He left his estate to daughter Amelia Gertrude Hardy (1865–1952), also an artist who lived and painted in Cranbrook into the 1930s.


Hardy's works - such as "A Quartette Party" and "Reading the Will" - commanded high prices during his lifetime. Other paintings include: "Still life" (1852), "Expectation" (1854" "A Christmas Party" (1857), "The Foreign Guest" (1859), "Children playing at doctors" (1863), "Coal Heavers" (1865), "Baby's birthday" (1867), "The Late arrival" (1873), "Fatherless" (1876), "A misdeal" (1877), "A music party" (1879), "Tragedy" (1880) and "The pet lamb" (1888)

Hardy's artwork is to be found in numerous public collections, notably at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery which holds nineteen of his paintings.


  1. ^  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1912). "Hardy, Frederic Daniel". Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement​. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  2. ^ Rebecca Dorrofield, daughter of William Dorrofield, a farmer from Chorley Wood.

Further reading[edit]

  • Alan E. H. Emery, Marcia L. H. Emery. Mother and child care in art (Royal Society of Medicine Press, 2006) pp. 82–3.
  • Tim Barringer, Mary Cowling, Diane Sachko Macleod. Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London (Frances Lincoln, 2008) p. 202.

External links[edit]