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Cowan Dobson, Rba, Rp,, 1893 - 1980 portrait Of Sir John Alexander Hammerton 1871-1949 Writer And Editor


£4,500 | $5,992 USD | €5,099 EUR
Item Number: SA678190
Date of manufacture: 1940
Current Status: For sale
Seller: Artware Fineart
This antique has been viewed 19 times in the past month with the most views from Australia.


Cowan Dobson, RBA, RP,, 1893 - 1980
Portrait of Sir John Alexander Hammerton 1871-1949 Writer and Editor
"Cowan Dobson"
oil on canvas
112 x 92 cm. (44 x 36 in.)
Sir John Alexander Hammerton, (1871–1949), author and editor of reference works, was born in Alexandria, Dunbartonshire, on 27 February 1871, the second in a family of two sons and one daughter of James Hammerton (1832/3–1874/5), clog maker of Oldham, and his second wife, Janet (b. 1841/2), shopwoman, daughter of Alexander Lang, mason. His father died when he was aged three, and the family, then living in Manchester, returned to the home of their maternal grandmother in Scotland. He attended first the Freeland School, Glasgow, and then Alexander's endowed school in the same city. As the breadwinner in the family, he left school at fourteen, and for the next four years he was apprenticed as a sculptor and tomb-cutter to the firm of stonemasons J. & G. Mossman. During this time he attended evening classes at the City School and at Glasgow University. He was known to his friends as Sandy.
The most successful creator of large-scale works of reference that Britain has known, Hammerton began his journalistic career in 1889 as a reporter on the Scottish temperance paper The Reformer. His light, humorous sketches began to appear regularly in London newspapers and in periodicals such as Punch. A succession of posts in journalism took him to Bolton, Blackpool, Nottingham, and Birmingham. While working in Blackpool, he married, on 3 January 1895, Rhoda (1871/2–1948), daughter of Colin Gibb Lawrence, of Glasgow. In 1900 he settled in London, where his lively, robust style of writing caught the eye of the founder of modern popular journalism, Alfred Harmsworth. In 1905 Hammerton was invited to join Harmsworth's Amalgamated Press, then the largest periodical-publishing empire in the world, and for the next seventeen years his employer's energetic and 'radium-like personality', as described by Hammerton, provided him with the background to his life's work. Of the more than ten million bound editions that bear his name as editor or author, he was proudest of the fortnightly Harmsworth's Universal Encyclopedia (1920–22) which, under the slogan of 'a penny a day's subscription', sold twelve million copies throughout the English-speaking world and was translated into six languages, including Japanese.
In 1911–13 Hammerton lived in Buenos Aires, where he edited El diccionario encyclopédico Hispano-Americano. He also wrote under pseudonyms, most notably a novel, The Call of the Town (1904), light reminiscences, and biographies of, among others, Arthur Mee and Sir J. M. Barrie. Despite the shortage of paper and the requisitioning of most commercial photographic glass negatives for the war effort, he was never happier, as he recounts in his autobiography, Books and Myself (1944), than during those days in the First World War when he worked late into the night to the background of a pavement barrel-organ in the Farringdon Road, alert to imminent air attacks on the city.
Hammerton's formative influence as a boy had been John Cassell's Popular Educator, first published in 1852. In 1934 he was able to consummate, in his own words, 'one of the romances of modern publishing', by revising and reissuing the work under the new title Practical Knowledge for All, which was, in turn, to become the most familiar series of educational books in millions of homes for a new generation.
To Hammerton's gifts of communication must also be attributed that most popular of all gestures of the twentieth century: the ‘V’ sign. In late 1940 he reported in the War Illustrated his sighting of a 'V' for victory sign apparently blazed by a Hawker Hurricane in the sky over the village of Firle in Sussex. Within months the sign had replaced the customary ‘thumbs-up’
Internal Ref: 4165


This item is antique. The date of manufacture has been declared as 1940.


Height = 112 cm (44.1")
Width = 92 cm (36.2")
Depth = 2 cm (0.8")

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Artware Fineart
18 La Gare
51 Surrey Row
United Kingdom

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