Golfers at Westward Ho! Print
A high-quality print from an original oil painting by F.P.Hopkins (1830-1913).
The print measures 48 x 28.5cm, and is titled 'Golfers at Westward ho! 1880'.
Hopkins was born in the Cambridge area and his father taught at Cambridge University. In 1848, Hopkins was commissioned as an officer in the 15th Regiment of Foot. After being promoted to Major in 1864, he retired from the Army and went to live in Westward Ho!, North Devon, mainly because he wanted to fish. At Westward Ho! he was introduced to golf and became a keen and fairly competent golfer.
When and how he learnt to paint is not known but it may be significant that his father, a man of many talents, took up painting in later life and was "not unsuccessful".
Hopkins painted in oil and watercolour; his oil paintings he signed 'F.P.Hopkins' but his watercolours were signed 'Major S', 'S' being the first letter of the name under which he wrote about golf- 'Major Shortspoon'.
Hopkins was the first of the true golfing journalists, as he wrote descriptions of golf matches, whereas those before him did not do so. He wrote, under the name 'Major Shortspoon', for the Field Magazine between 1870 and 1890.
He was a competent artist and the golfers in his paintings are easily recognisable; he and Thomas Hodge were the first artists to paint golfers on the Links swinging a golf club; artists before them had only painted formal portraits of golfing dignitaries, suitably posed, with the exception of Paul Sandby who painted one picture of golfers on a Links at the end of the 18th century.
Hopkins' paintings were exhibited on more than one occasion. He was a prolific painter and his paintings give us a good idea of what golf was like in the second half of the 19th century.