Thomas Marie Madawaska Hemy

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Thomas Marie Madawaska Hemy

Birthplace: HMS Madawaska at sea
Death: Died in St Helens, Isle of Wight, England, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: Isle of Wight
Immediate Family:

Son of Henri F. Hemy, Prof.Music and Margaret MacDonald
Husband of Mary Annie Hemy
Father of Gwenyth Aileen De Brath (Hemy); Eve Hemy and Henry Hemy
Brother of Christopher Hemy; Charles Napier (1841 - 1917) Hemy, ARTIST; Bernard B. Hemy - ARTIST; Eleanor Hemy; Frederick Hemy and 4 others

Occupation: Marine Artist
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas Marie Madawaska Hemy



   * Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham, 6 times
   * Dudley Gallery, twice
   * Dowdeswell Gallery, once
   * Grosvenor Gallery, 4 times
   * Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, 6 times
   * Walker Gallery, Liverpool, 13 times
   * Manchester City Art Gallery, 11 times
   * The Royal Academy, 22 times
   * Royal Society of British Artists, twice
   * Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, 15 times
   * Royal Institute of Oil Painters, 9 times

(See information on this site and credit for the sketch of him)

"Thomas was born into a very large family and was one of thirteen children, ten boys and three girls (some names are Charles, Eleanor, Bernard, Frederick, Vincent and Herbert). He had at least two artist brothers - an older brother (Charles Napier Hemy, of Newcastle, England (1841-1917) who would seem to have been more recognised as an artist. Another older artist brother was named Bernard Benedict Hemy (1844-1910).

Thomas was born on HMS Madawaska (hence his middle name) while the family was in the course of emigrating to Australia. (Another source says his family was on return trip to England from Australia.)

He was an author ('Deep Sea Days', published by H. F. & G. Witherby in London, England, in 1926) and actually specialized in the painting of shipwrecks.

Educated at Dr. Spence's school in Clayton Street, Newcastle. Travelled abroad extensively - India, South America and North America (San Francisco), etc., travelling by sea.

At 21 studied art under Mr. W. Cosens Way.

Studied figure drawing at the Antwerp Academy of Arts for two years;

His most famous painting would seem to have been of the 'Wreck of the Birkenhead', (a page about that work is available here and a thumbnail of the work is below), a troopship which sank off the coast of Africa on February 26, 1852. The expression 'women and children first' originated with that sinking. It would seem that there were approximately 638 passengers aboard the Birkenhead when she hit a rock off Cape Danger (how appropriate that name!) about 100 miles south east of Cape Town. 113 people would seem to have survived the wreck.

In 1874, Charles Hemy was 33-years-old and he and his younger brothers, Bernard Benedict Hemy and Thomas Marie Madawaska Hemy, were living and working at Sea View House, North Shields.

In 1875, the year after Charles Hemy painted his Burnmouth view, his brother Thomas exhibited a watercolour of Burnmouth in London, offered for sale at £6. He had a studio in St. John's Wood.

1878, Thomas married Annie Dixon at Darlington (as per the Oct-Nov-Dec Marriage Directory for that year).

1901 Channel Islands Census - Parish of St Matthew - living at 32 La Banquette, Queritez, Island of Jersey:

  • Annie Hemy Aged 49, born Durham, England
  • Eve Hemy Aged 19, born Darlington, England
  • Henry Hemy Aged 18, born Darlington, England
  • Gweneth (sp?) Hemy Aged 16, born Darlington, England

In 1911, the artist was listed as being at '4 Belsize Studios, Glenilla-road, N.W. London..

....Thomas lived in the Newcastle area and died there in 1937 -


A collection of 19 oil paintings, 41 watercolours and ten drawings are owned by The Laing in Newcastle, England

The Port Of Shields, one of Hemy's finest pictures, is owned by the Walker Art Gallery*(see below) in Liverpool, England

(Source: Di Kilpert, Thomas' great-granddaughter) :

"One (photo) is of my son Richard taken a few years ago in a Liverpool art gallery. The picture is a copy of the famous 'Women and Children First' that Hemy painted specially for this gallery. No one seems to know where the (much larger) original has gone to."

"when my daughter Leigh and I visited the Black Watch museum in Perth, Scotland, in 2000. It's a small original Birkenhead painting - apparently Hemy painted several different versions - but the museum people didn't know where the famous painting was now stored. They said it had been owned by the Black Watch and that their various branches had exchanged paintings over the years and maybe it had got put away in a storeroom somewhere and forgotten. (It was a Black Watch regiment that went down with the ship at Gansbaai, near Cape Town.)"

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Thomas Marie Madawaska Hemy's Timeline

HMS Madawaska at sea
Age 32
Darlington, United Kingdom
Age 33
Age 34
Darlington, Durham, England
March 30, 1937
Age 87
St Helens, Isle of Wight, England, United Kingdom
Isle of Wight