Edwin Lewis Meadows was born in Stepney in 1838. In his early years he lived with his family in Stepney, Clapham and Bow, but by 1861 he had moved out of the family home in Coborn Road in Bow, to live in nearby Alfred Street.
Image: Edwin Lewis Meadows
Edwin Lewis Meadows.
(Reproduced by kind permission of Lesely Hayward).
In 1863, he married Emily Jessie Whittet (born c.1844 in Woodford) at St Mary's Church, Stratford, Bow. Following their marriage, the couple moved to Leytonstone until the 1870s, and three of their four children were born there. In 1864, Edwin gave his address simply as "near the Church" in Leytonstone, but in 1867 the family were apparently living at Royal Lodge in Leytonstone (a former royal hunting lodge). By 1881 the family had moved to Maybank Road in West Ham. However by 1890, Edwin and his family had made their most signficiant move when they left the East London / Essex border for Rochester in Kent.
Image: Emily Meadows
(Reproduced by kind permission of Lesley Hayward).
Edwin Meadows was a artist in the family tradition established by his father and brothers. The following information is taken from the website cited: "Edwin Meadows was an accomplished London landscape painter. He exhibited 26 times at the Royal Academy, 17 times at the British Institution, and 55 times at Suffolk Street. [He also exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts in Dublin in 1864]. Titles at the Royal Academy include views in Essex, Kent, Sussex, Surrey, the Isle of Wight, etc. and some coastal scenes." (www.dixon-antiques.com). Writing about one of Edwin's works, the same website continues: "This lovely rustic scene reflects late nineteenth century attitudes about country life, an idyllic paradise that contrasted with the urban landscape that was becoming a reality. Artists put this idyllic world on canvas, presenting to an eager audience depictions of the British landscape in its natural, unspoiled state." Edwin's move to Rochester might initially seem to confirm this pursuit of the rural idyll, but the reality was altogeher different.
In the 1891 census, Edwin and his family were recorded living at Islingham Farm, Frindsbury, Strood in Kent, on the opposite bank from Rochester on the River Medway. However the real surprise was that Edwin in both the 1891 and 1901 censuses, Edwin gave his profession as "manager of cement works", a major local industry. One of his sons also followed him into the business. Even if the position obviously offered Edwin financial stability, it seems an odd contrast for an artist whose works reflected, "an idyllic paradise that contrasted with the urban landscape". From 1890 onwards, Edwin produced a series of paintings of Frindsbury Hill, and of scenes in Rochester. By 1901 the family had moved to Borstal Road in Rochester, but Edwin died in Sevenoaks in 1907.
Edwin and Emily's eldest son, Orestes Lewis Meadows (1864-1939) was born in Leytonstone. In 1891 he gave his occupation as "manager, vine merchant", and was living with his parents, but not long afterwards he married and founded a family with his wife Edith Coules (born 1868). By 1901 he was the manager of a coffee house, and living with his family in Bexley. The family stayed in Bexley until 1922, when they moved to Alton in Hampshire. His seven children were Dora (born 1893), John Lewis (1894-1899), Jessie Edith Gwendolen (born 1896), Violet Hilda(born 1899), Stanley Arthur (1901-1902), Margaret Helen (born 1903), and Edwin Henry (1906-1979). Roger and Jeff Meadows, the sons of Edwin Henry Meadows, have created the website 'The Meadows Story'(see below), based on the notes of their great-grandfather, Edwin Lewis Meadows. Roger and Jeff have also contributed generously to this website.
Emily Meadows was born in 1866 in Woodford.
Frederick John Meadows (1868-1950) was born in Leytonstone. In 1891 he was a clerk at the Cement Works, and by 1901 he had been promoted to manager.
Grace Meadows was born in 1871 in Leytonstone. In 1891, she gave her profession as "artist painter student". The photos below of Grace and her family are reproduced by kind permission of Lesley Hayward. In the final photo, the family resemblances between Edwin and his neice Jessie, and Grace and her cousin Nellie, are striking.
Image: Young Grace Meadows
Image: Older Grace Meadows
Image: Edwin & Grace Meadows with Nellie and Jessie Self
From left to right: Nellie Hilda Self, Edwin Lewis Meadows, Grace Meadows, and Jessie Meadows Self seated on the ground.
Edwin's great-grandsons Roger and Jeff Meadows have created a fascinating illustrated website based on the notes of their great-grandfather. Their illustrated site is essentiel reading if you are interested in the history of the Meadows family. Examples of Frederick's and Grace's paintings can also be found on The Meadows Story website, at the link below, together with a chidlhood portrait of Edwin Lewis Meadows by his father James Meadows.
The Meadows Story website
The following links are just a few of the sites which currently display works by Edwin.
Edwin Meadows on Artnet
Edwin Meadows on Archerexchange.com
Edwin Meadows on Susquehanna Antiques
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