View of Southsea Common, c. 1850s, by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd. Oil on canvas. H 30.3 x W 91.3 cm. Collection: Portsmouth Museum and Visitor Services. Accession number 1977/275. Acquisition method: purchased from the Rutland Gallery with the assistance of the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, 1977. Kindly made available via Art UK on the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial licence (CC BY-NC). [Click on the images to enlarge them.] Text and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee.

Cloer view of the central part of the painting.

Southsea, Hampshire, was now becoming a residential suburb of Portsmouth — early on in the nineteenth century, the Dickens family had lived there for a while. Shepherd catches the bustle and variety of the common, which runs parallel to the shore, in this long panoramic view. It was also fast becoming a fashionable seaside resort, and gathered several more literary associations: in the 1870s, young Rudyard Kipling and his sister boarded there; in 1882, young Arthur Conan Doyle set up a medical practice there; in the early 80s too, H. G. Wells was apprenticed to a Southsea drapers. In the mid-1880s, it would be laid out as a pleasure ground, as another attraction of what was now a very popular resort.

Southsea beach, England. Source: Library of Congress, Washington, reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsc-08865.

Related Material


Southsea Common. Historic England. Web. 20 November 2021.

Created 20 November 2020