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Portrait of Ernest Dudley Heath artist painter author
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Ernest Dudley Heath
Artist and Author


Born: 1867 and died 1945.
Son of: Henry Charles Heath (1829-1898) and Georgina Woodcock (1838-1891).
Brother of:
1. Sir Henry Frank Heath (1863-1946) who married 1st Antonia Eckerstein (1868-1893) and 2nd Francis Sayer (1874-1939).
2. Mabel Heath (1865-????).
3. Constance Fanny Heath (1866-1940) who married, in 1888, Prof Arthur Green (Prof of Chemistry).
4. Elvina Heath (1869-1956?) known as Snooker.
5. Charles Heath (1870-1870).
6. Hugh Lionel Heath (1871-1938) who married Maggie Forsyth (1879-1939).
7. Leopold Heath (1872-1902).
8. Florence (1874-1937) who married ?
9. Arthur Heath (1875-1875).
10. George Heath (1876-1877).
11. Winifred Marion Heath (1880-????).
Ernest married:
1st, Ellen Winifred Green, in 1903. Ellen died in the Ealing Nursing Home, 26 March 1915, aged 41.
2nd, Mary Gilbertson in1919.
Ernest and Mary had issue:
1. Wilfred Ian Heath (1921-2004) known as Ian.

Overview of: Ernest Dudley Heath

The following was written by by Dudley's son Ian Heath from diverse family records in May 2002. 

Ernest Dudley Heath's father, Henry Charles Heath, (1829-1898), was by 1862 established as a miniature painter with commissions from Queen Victoria, and in August 1862 he married and set up a business as a portrait painter and photographer at 153 Regent Street, London.  Ernest Dudley was the fourth child to be born over the shop on 18 July 1867.

In 1872 his father relinquished the photographic part of the business, and moved his still growing family to "Dudley Villa", 33 Grove End Road, St. John's Wood, while retaining a studio at 12 Pall Mall East.  His father worked at his painting at either address.

Ernest Dudley was apprenticed in his father's studio, initially stippling in the backgrounds of miniature portraits.  At sixteen while attending the West London School of Art he won the Queen's Prize for success in the National Art Competition.  Trying his hand at portraiture in oils in 1884, at the age of 17, Ernest produced a life size head and shoulders portrait of his father in oils that was startlingly good, and his father indicated that Ernest should be able to earn his own living at the profession.

Wishing to obtain a secure foundation to his profession, Ernest gained admission in 1885 to the Royal Academy Schools, where he studied figure drawing, perspective drawing, and painting in more than one medium.  At the end of this three year course, at the age of 21, he signed up for a further three years.  This enabled him to "freelance" as an illustrator for periodicals and books, and to explore his beloved London with his sketch book.  It also enabled him to absorb some of the techniques required by an art teacher.

Some of the scenes and portraits he produced in that period, some as miniatures, were not commissions, but were done for pleasure and to demonstrate the artist's ability.  An illustration in a journal, or a painting in a London exhibition may, hopefully, attract a commission.  One major commission, obtained after the death of his father in January 1898, was for a full length life size portrait of Queen Victoria which was finally completed and delivered not long after 1900.  Although Ernest had his own address at 10 Fitzroy Street, W.C., it is evident from a photograph of the artist at work that this commission required the height of the studio available at 12 Pall Mall East. Although always known as "Ernest" within the family, his work was always signed "Dudley Heath" or sometimes a monogram of 'DH'.

After many years of friendship between the Heath family and another London family, the Greens, Ernest married Ellen Winifred Green on 23 May 1903 at St. Mary's Church, Hampstead.  Winifred was the youngest sister of Ernest's brother-in-law, Arthur George Green, who had married Ernest's elder sister in 1888.  Ernest and Winifred set up house at Pembroke Lodge, Winchmore Hill, N.

As well as being an accomplished miniature painter, his reputation as an Art Historian was consolidated by the publication in 1905 by Methuen of his book "MINIATURES" by Dudley Heath.  This covers the period from the fifteenth century to the dawn of the twentieth century, and includes actual size reproductions of 116 miniatures, twenty four of them in colour.  The ninety or so monochrome illustrations are all derived from photographs taken by the author himself with a plate camera extended so that the image on the negative plate was the same size as the original miniature.  For the colour illustrations the author was given permission to take each miniature to the publisher to produce the multiple photographs needed for the colour reproduction.

In the book "MINIATURES" mention is included of the work of the author's father, Henry Charles Heath, and of his younger brother Hugh Lionel Heath, who was also a miniature painter.

During the period 1903 to 1908 Ernest was a Lecturer on Art for the University of London Extension, and he also taught in an East London school (believed to have been Rotherhithe New Road School). Small commissions were obtained for illustrations in periodicals and books, as well as an occasional miniature, or a portrait in oils.

At some time after 1910 Ernest's wife Winifred died.  There had been no children in their marriage, and in due course Ernest moved from Winchmore Hill back closer to London.  His elder sister and his brother in law, Arthur Green, were very consolatory and helpful, including him in some of their holiday excursions.  His work at the time included a 'genre' scene in tempera, "Gleaners", based on his sketches in the busy Covent Garden market, and exhibited 'on the line' in the R.A. in 1914.

In 1914 Ernest was appointed to, and became principal of the Hampstead Garden Suburb School of Arts and Crafts.  Others may be able to elaborate how this school was born alongside the girls' school on the green central square, with its two churches, that was intended to form the hub of the then quite new Hampstead Garden Suburb.

Ernest was always interested in the applied arts, as well as portrait and genre painting, and in the H.G.S. Art School he encouraged the development of allied crafts such as wood-carving, modelling, sculpture, pottery, and decorative design including poster design.  The spirit of William Morris contributed to the thinking.  The teaching staff working under the principle were therefore tutoring in a variety of specialities.  One such was George Stevenson who was by profession a sculptor, and became an expert on the characteristics for carving or furniture making.  I came across him years later, in 1935, as the crafts master in University College School, Frognal, where a dedicated craft room had been built specially for him in the playground.

Another member of the staff, appointed after 1914, was a little Scottish lady, Mary Gilbertson, whose parents had moved south to settle in London in 1900 when Mary was sixteen.  The family had set up house in SE London, and Mary had studied for an Art Teachers' Diploma at Goldsmiths College.  Mary was able to show a portfolio of excellent figure drawing, a real feeling for water colour, and an interest in decoration and pottery.  She was able to contribute to many of the school's activities, and developed a detailed study of the colours that could be used to decorate and glaze pottery.  The school had a 'home-made' potter' wheel, and had access to a kiln in which pottery produced by Mary and the students could be fired.  A notebook in which Mary had recorded the resulting colours, after firing, of various metallic salts has recently been handed on to one of our granddaughters who is teaching ceramics.

Mary's brothers and sisters had dispersed, and as a result of her appointment she moved with her father, to 7 Hogarth Hill.  The war was in progress, and Ernest served as a part time Special Constable until he reached his 50th birthday in 1917.

Ernest found Mary an un-flappable companion with a willingness to "have a go" at many of the visual arts.  In particular they shared an enthusiasm for out-door water colour sketching.  During 1919 they became engaged, and on 30 December 1919 they were married in the Free Church, Central Square, H.G.S.  They set up house at 74 Addidson Way, and honeymooned in 1920 in the Mawddach Valley, North Wales, producing many water colours.  I was born in 1921.

An external enterprise in which the H.G.S. School of Arts and Crafts became involved was the summer-time production of a play in the open-air theatre in the Little Wood.  An early production, may be it was the first, involved the players being dressed in Grecian costume; this was provided by buying plain material and hand-printing repetitive patterns on the material using stencils cut in the Art School.  Mary spent many days "pouncing" the decorative patterns onto the plain materials, using the typically stubby brushes and artists' oil paint which soaked through and dried into the fibres.  Some of these printed cloths have survived until quite recently.  She was less involved after 1921, subsequent pagents being produced by a group of enthusiasts under the title of the "Play and Pagent Union".

In 1926 the Burnham Committee pay award and the increased staffing costs provided a reason for closing the H.G.S. School of Arts and Crafts.  The building was taken over as an extension of the girls school.  From 1927 Ernest was lecturer on pedagogy to post diploma students at the Royal College of Art and at Hornsey School of Art.  He died on 1 December 1945.

The above was written by Dudley's son Ian Heath from diverse family records in May 2002. 


Dudley also produced illustrations for a number of books including:
1. The Little Princess and Great Plot [Children's Library Series], by Linda Eckenstein.  Published by T. Fisher Unwin, London 1892.
2.   The Story of Rome - From the Earliest Times to the Death of Augustus, by Mary MacGregor.  Published by T. C. & E. C. Jack, London and Edinburgh, not dated.
3.   The Story of Southgate and Winchmore Hill, by Walker Round.  Published by F.R Taylor and Walker Round, London, not dated.

 See images below for examples of works of Dudley Heath.





Face to face with him were three accusing women

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Drawing by Ernest Dudley Heath artist painter author
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The Alhambra

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Drawing by Ernest Dudley Heath artist painter author
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Painted around 1894

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Portrait of an elderly lady titled 'Memories' Painted by Ernest Dudley Heath Artist and Author 1867-1945
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Memories (another version)

Painted in 1894

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Portrait of an elderly lady titled 'Memories' Painted by Ernest Dudley Heath Artist and Author 1867-1945
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Portrait of 'A Street Urchin'
Painted around 1895

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Portrait of a young boy painted by Ernest Dudley Heath Artist and Author 1867-1945
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Ellen Winifred Heath nee Green
Winifred Marion Heath

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Portrait of two young ladies reading painted by Ernest Dudley Heath Artist and Author 1867-1945
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Portrait of a young lady
(a relative but what is her name?)
Painted around 1905

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Portrait miniature of a young lady painted by Ernest Dudley Heath Artist and Author 1867-1945
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