by H. H. Evans
This is one of 9 new Evans drawings obtained by Seaford Museum in April 2007.
H. H. Evans appeared to have spent the greater part of his life recording the events and
buildings of Seaford and its surrounding areas, and documenting changes that
occurred. Although frequently referred to as "Evans' Prints" these are not
prints, all the drawings are originals, the only known reproductions from his
time being a few postcards.
Harry Harison Evans' work is something of an enigma but some facts can be surmised from the examples of his work held by Seaford Museum and by other collectors; and the detective work continues.
His style of drawing changes very little over the years but his signature changes from H H Evans to HHE or H, but never "Wingy" or "Lumps" as he was known locally (due to the fact that he had only one arm).
The papers he used show no watermarks but vary from cheap drawing books to quality card. His method of working was to pin the paper to a drawing board and then use Indian ink and a mapping pen. A little wash was used for cloud, smoke or shadow but to our knowledge he never used colour. He occasionally used sepia ink.
He rarely dated the time at which he made his drawings but did date the event or time represented by the drawing. The earliest date represented in the collections to which we have access, is a view of Seaford Town in 1785. This is a copy of one of a set of six drawings by A Grimm (drawings now in the British Museum). He also copied drawings from The Illustrated London News, one of which was the great explosion of Seaford Head Cliff in 1850. Several drawings of the great flood and its aftermath were made by him, but whether these drawings are contemporary with the events or drawn retrospectively is a mystery. The flood occurred in 1875 when he was 26 years old but the only dated drawing of the flood was made in 1897. Like many of his compositions the drawing of Church Street at the time of the flood was taken from the work of J Moxon, a French artist working for The Illustrated London News.
Not only did he copy compositions from known artists, he also copied photographs taken by Mr W R Wynter, a well known local photographer and pharmacist and a friend of Evans' Father. W R Wynter was also a keen local historian, the author of "Old Seaford" published by Farncombe and Co in 1922, and used one of Evans' drawings as an illustration. The descriptions of events, written under the drawings in a fine, copperplate hand were not always correct and he repeated drawings of the same subject with differing details such as brick walls, flint walls and windows. Without dates we can never know which were the master drawings but it seems probable that he kept a collection of photographs and postcards to work from.
Many of his drawings survive as numbered collections, either in a drawing book or listed in special folders and it seems probable that he was commissioned to produce sets of drawings as gifts. This would also account for the repetition and slight differences in the drawings. At present we have located approximately 200 drawings, including one collection that had found its way to Canada and returned to Seaford in 1996. In January, 2001, a further collection of 50 drawings came to light (seven of which have been included in this book), which had originally been given to Mr Barwell, a Seaford solicitor by Miss Gertrude Danby daughter of one of the last Bailiffs of the town and herself an eminent resident and councillor. In 2002, Seaford Museum acquired another set of 40 drawings which were auctioned in Lewes. A local Seaford businessman bought them for the Museum. In April 2007, another 9 drawings were acquired by a gentleman at a London gallery. He kindly notified the Museum who were then able to purchase them.
Seaford Museum now proudly holds over 120 original H H Evans drawings. We believe that there may be many other drawings in existence and hope to continue to record the work of this local artist.