An artist and astronomer

While searching the catalogue of the British Museum for material about Kilburn, I found this delightful sketch of a farm. It was probably painted in the 1860s when there were several farms on both the Hampstead and Willesden sides of the Kilburn High Road and gives some idea of the rural nature of the village at the time. Unfortunately, there are no clues in the picture or any information about exactly where this was in Kilburn.
© Trustees of the British Museum
The artist Nathaniel Everitt Green lived in Circus Road, St John’s Wood and would have walked to Kilburn, looking for inspiration in the countryside. Green was born in Bristol in 1823 and after starting in a merchant’s office in Liverpool found he did not like commercial work. So in 1844 he enrolled at the Royal Academy School where his contemporaries included John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti who founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Green became a well-known artist and exhibited 18 landscape paintings at the Royal Academy between 1857 and 1885. He needed to earn a living for his large family of five daughters and four sons and became a successful teacher of painting and drawing to private pupils. In 1880 he was invited to Balmoral where his pupils included Queen Victoria, the Princess of Wales and other members of the Royal family. Green produced an instruction manual called ‘Hints on Sketching from Nature’ which was published by George Rowney and Company in 1871 and subsequent years. Rowney also produced the print of the Kilburn farm above.
In 1859 Green became interested in astronomy and built his own telescope. He maintained his dual interests in art and astronomy and became a prominent member of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and was the President of the British Astronomical Association (BAA) from 1896 to 1898. He set up a large reflecting telescope in his garden in St Johns Wood and used his artistic skills to make detailed pastel drawings of his observations of Mars. In 1877 he travelled to Maderia to carry out observations of the planet. Green became involved in the ‘great Martian canal debate’ and his findings were presented to the RAS and published two years later. He also made important contributions to the work about Jupiter.Green left London in 1899 and died in November at St Marks, Colney Heath, near St Albans. He was 76 years old.
Further information:
See the article by Richard McKim (BAA, 2004), Nathaniel Everett Green: artist and astronomer. Online:
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/2004JBAA..114…13M
Search Google Images for “Nathaniel Everett Green” to see examples of his paintings.
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