Ernest Heasman - 1874-1927

Stained glass artist who lived and worked in Harpenden from 1906

By Rosemary Ross

Photo:Ernest Heasman - Self-portrait

Ernest Heasman - Self-portrait

LHS archives, cat.no. B 3.4

Ernest Heasman was born on 15th February 1874 in Linfield, Sussex. At the age of 16 he joined C E Kempe & Co, stained glass manufacturers. In 1897 he was awarded a six-month scholarship to study in Italy and on his return the Worshipful Company of Painters awarded him a medal for the work he had done during his tour. He gained a scholarship to study at the Slade from 1899 to 1900, while continuing to work for Kempe & Co. He is best known as a stained glass artist. He moved to Harpenden, where he lived lived in a house on East Common from 1905/6 (Kelly's directory lists him there in 1906. In 1912 he moved to 21 East Common, which he named Nedneprah, in which he had a Studio and his wife Ernestine a Music Room (as described in her Memories of her Father by their second daughter Hilda Strickland).

By this time he had moved to work for Herbert Bryans & Co as their chief draftsman. During the First World War when stained glass work was virtually at a standstill he worked in a jam factory in Redbourn, returning to Bryans in 1920, before leaving to work from his own Studio. He died on 26th July 1927, after an illness lasting nearly two years.

In 1984/1985 Hilda Strickland deposited many of his papers and some of his works in The Victoria and Albert Museum. Information on his career has been drawn from the following website link to extracts from Guide to the Archive of Art and Design, Victoria & Albert Museum edited by Elizabeth Lomas - http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=c3M3kdI5Xr4C&pg=PA134&lpg=PA134&dq=Ernest+Heasman&source=bl&ots=RrjFjIXjRj&sig=J9N-qkmNHa4RlHA2bDf-snk2qWU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=HIDhUvuzD4HA7AassIDQCw&ved=0CGkQ6AEwDQ#v=onepage&q=Ernest%20Heasman&f=false =

According to the Tesselations website (http://www.tessellations.org.uk), Ernest Heasman also created a small number of hand painted tiles utilising stained glass enamels and his glass kiln. Most of these were produced to commission. 

In 1924 Heasman was commissioned to design the windows for the Music Room of Paddockhurst House, nr Crawley, Sussex - now part of the Catholic community of Worth Abbey.  This link illustrates Heasman's work there: http://www.worthabbey.net/abbey/art_gla.htm

Photo:Heasman and his wife, with caption: "Sorry I was so out of tune this morning"

Heasman and his wife, with caption: "Sorry I was so out of tune this morning"

LHS archives, cat.no. B 3.6

Photo:Window in the Administrative Building, St George's School

Window in the Administrative Building, St George's School

LHS archives, cat.no. B 3.1

Photo:Tile beneath the organ in St John's church, Harpenden, in memory of William Freeman, organist for 40 years.  This was Heasman's last work.

Tile beneath the organ in St John's church, Harpenden, in memory of William Freeman, organist for 40 years. This was Heasman's last work.

LHS archives, cat.no. B 3.7

Photo:Cross Farm - watercolour by Ernest Heasman

Cross Farm - watercolour by Ernest Heasman

LHS archives, cat.no. B 3.3

Photo:Ernest Heasman - a scheme for a Pleasure Park at the gravel pits on Harpenden Common (a phantasy?)

Ernest Heasman - a scheme for a Pleasure Park at the gravel pits on Harpenden Common (a phantasy?)

LHS archives, cat.no. B 3.5

Photo:Ernest Heasman - the Baa Lamb trees, Harpenden Common, looking south; also published as a postcard

Ernest Heasman - the Baa Lamb trees, Harpenden Common, looking south; also published as a postcard

LHS archives, cat.no. B 3.8

Photo:Ernest Heasman - Spring

Ernest Heasman - Spring

LHS archives, cat.no, B 3.9

Photo:Ernest Heasman - portrait of Shepherd Arnold

Ernest Heasman - portrait of Shepherd Arnold

LHS archive, cat.no. B 3.12

Photo:Ernest Heasman - White Horse at Hatching Green, 1914, also reproduced as a postcard.  One of many sketches of the White Horse

Ernest Heasman - White Horse at Hatching Green, 1914, also reproduced as a postcard. One of many sketches of the White Horse

Photo:Ernest Heasman - Harpenden Common, looking north, also produced as a Christmas card, 1912

Ernest Heasman - Harpenden Common, looking north, also produced as a Christmas card, 1912

LHS archives, cat.no, B 3.16

Photo:Ernest Heasman - oilpainting of Harpenden Common

Ernest Heasman - oilpainting of Harpenden Common

LHs archives, cat.no. B 3.17

Photo:Ernest Heasman - Harpenden Common in winter, looking north, c.1912

Ernest Heasman - Harpenden Common in winter, looking north, c.1912

LHS archives, cat.no. B 3.18

Photo:Ernest Heasman - St John's church, Harpenden, 1914, also reproduced as a postcard

Ernest Heasman - St John's church, Harpenden, 1914, also reproduced as a postcard

LHS archives, cat.no. B 3.21

Photo:View of Harpenden common, looking north, from Ernest Heasman's house on East Common - a view he painted many times and in many seasons

View of Harpenden common, looking north, from Ernest Heasman's house on East Common - a view he painted many times and in many seasons

LHS archives, cat.no. B 3.20

This page was added by Rosemary Ross on 12/03/2013.
Comments about this page

This is such an exciting discovery! Shepherd Arnold, who features amongst Heasman's work reproduced here, I have discovered to be my Gt Gt Grandfather. I would love to be able to view the painting in person so please can you tell me where the LHS archives are to be found-assuming they are accessible to the public? A note on the website about the archive's location would be helpful, I think, for the benefit of others interest in Heasman' s work.

Ed. We not know the location of the original painting, but we have files with copies of drawings, paintings and ceramic designs in our archives. These are not open to the public, but can be seen by arrangement - please contact us.

By Graham Arnold
On 15/10/2013

Some of Ernest Heasman's ceramic tiles can be found in Batford Methodist Church. 8 of them make up a memorial plaque to those servicemen who died in WW1.

By Peter Bigg
On 10/12/2013

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