Hudson Junior, Robert (1852-1884)

Hudson Junior, Robert (1852-1884)

Hailing from Sheffield, England, Robert Hudson Junior was predominantly known for his landscapes depicting views in Derbyshire, Scotland, North Wales, and Switzerland. His father was the still-life painter and art dealer, Robert Hudson Senior (1826-1885).

Particularly admired in the north of England, Hudson Junior was an amiable character whose admiration for the natural world underpinned his artistic pursuits. A rather humble gentleman, he was dedicated to his work and lived a modest life - avoiding the trappings of courting notoriety. An obituary explained that “whatever fame he had was, so to speak, forced upon him, and was embarrassing rather than otherwise.”

His landscapes are broadly naturalistic and probably captured outdoors. Often, he adopted a short brushstroke and as such, light seems to flicker playfully across foliage. It’s reminiscent, in some ways, of the approach taken by Alfred Vickers (1786-1868) and indeed the grandfather of scattered light effects, John Constable (1776-1837).

He travelled extensively for inspiration - from the quaint banks of the Derwent River in Derbyshire to the epic peaks of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire was also a popular destination with its gnarled oaks and limber birch trees captured swiftly by his hand. His younger brother Willis Richard Edwin Hudson (1862-1936) also painted there.

At 21, his alliterative work ‘The Rail, the Road and the River Near Matlock Bath’, was shown at the Royal Society of British Artists at Suffolk Street, London. At the time, opportunities for northern artists were predominantly London-centric but he avoided the temptation of moving to the capital and remained in his hometown. He was undoubtedly proud of Sheffield and in 1874, co-founded the Sheffield Society of Artists, where he exhibited regularly. He was shown at the Royal Academy a few years later.

In a fitting tribute, a local reporter noted that when discussing his favourite piece during a conversation in Sherwood Forest, he exclaimed “The Forest Smiles”. A poignant quote from an understated man. He’s represented in several public collections including Sheffield Museum.


Royal Academy, Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Society of British Artists, Sheffield Society of Artists (where he was a co-founder and member).

Public Collections

Sheffield Museums, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Bassetlaw District Council.



Born in Sheffield to Robert Hudson Senior, a still life painter and art dealer, and Harriet Hudson.


Lived in Sheffield with his parents, siblings and a servant.

Trained by his father and also at Sheffield School of Art.


Lived in Sheffield with his parents and siblings. Occupation recorded as ‘Artist in Oil Colours’.


Debuted at the Royal Society of British Artists with ‘The Rail, the Road and the River Near Matlock Bath’.


Co-founded the Sheffield Society of Artists.


Debuted at the Royal Academy with ‘Companions in Age’.
Lived in Sheffield.
Married Mary Holiday in Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield.


Lived in Sheffield with his wife.


Died in Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield.

Obituary - Sheffield Daily Telegraph

“Sale of the Hudson Pictures at the Cutlers’ Hall.

There was a considerable attendance at the Cutlers' Hall yesterday forenoon, when Mr. E. E. Holiday offered for sale by public auction, on behalf of the widow and children of the late Robert Hudson, jun., a collection of fifty two oil-paintings and water-colour drawings, including several works of unusual excellence. One of these, entitled 'The Forest Smiles,' was stated to be Mr. Hudson's favourite work. Mr. Holiday, before offering this picture, stated that it received its title under interesting circumstances. When talking about it in Sherwood Forest, Mr. Hudson exclaimed 'The Forest Smiles,' and he was advised to make that the name of his work, which he did. It was the largest picture left behind him in the possession of his family, and it was somewhat remarkable that there should be in it a representation of himself employed upon his favourite work and in his favourite spot.

Mrs. Hudson was exceedingly anxious that this picture should not get into the possession of any private individual, it being her opinion that it should be placed in some public institution, and there was no place so likely, should Sheffield ever possess an art gallery, and it was a disgrace it had none-(hear, hear)-as in that gallery. He believed that no Sheffield art gallery would be complete without a picture representing Mr. Hudson fairly. They had 2 works which not only represented the artist in his distinctive characteristics but also the manner of the man when he was alive. It would be mistaken generosity on Mrs. Hudson's part, in her position with her two little fatherless children, to attempt to give the picture to the town. A reserve had been placed upon it of 100 guineas - a sum which had thrice been offered for it by different gentlemen. There had been many offers for it - some higher and some lower. The picture, if bought for a public institution or for the town, would be sold for 100 guineas; but a private individual would have to make an advance on that figure. The auctioneer added that the previous day at least forty people had offered to subscribe their guinea each to obtain the picture for the town. There was no bidding for the picture, which was withdrawn, Mr. Holiday intimating that for a few days, it would remain on offer privately.


One remarkably fine picture, 'Ollerton Road, Looking Towards Edwinstowe,' was withdrawn at 22 guineas, the auctioneer intimating that in the event of ‘The Forest Smiles' being sold, Mrs. Hudson desired to keep 'Ollerton Road' in her possession. At the close of the sale, Mr. Holiday intimated that Mrs. Hudson was prepared to give purchasers any guarantee they might desire as to the authenticity of the works which had been sold.”

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