THE friendship of two famous Warrington painters is evident in a painting that now hangs in Warrington Museum.

Fair Quiet and Sweet Rest by Luke Fildes is based on a drawing entitled Hours of Idleness which appeared in Once a Week in June in 1869.

The original sketch was inspired by a picnic and boat trip on the Thames with Fildes’s friend and fellow artist Henry Woods.

Two years after Luke went to London, Henry joined him, having also gained a scholarship to South Kensington.

In 1870 both artists took studios in a large house in King Henry’s Road, near Regents’ Park, in London.

Luke had met Henry’s two sisters Annie and Fanny in Warrington and, on one occasion when they were visiting the friends in London, he produced a sketch entitled Hours of Idleness, which included the girls.

Luke made this the basis of his painting Fair Quiet and Sweet Rest.

The picture was hung in The Royal Academy and was acclaimed Picture of the Year.

It was sold to a well-known dealer for £600 and was previously on display in Walton Hall.

The success of this painting, coupled with his reputation as a black-and-white illustrator, promised a secure financial future.

He flourished and, in 1875 at the age of only 32, engaged the foremost Victorian architect Norman Shaw to design and supervise the building of a large house for him at Kensington, next door to Lord Leighton, who became President of The Royal Academy in 1878.

Meanwhile, Henry Woods was also enjoying major success in the art world.

He exhibited at the Royal Academy each year from 1869 until his death in 1921 and never had a painting rejected.

In some years five were hung on display.

His paintings were much admired, both at home and abroad, and he himself was popular with the Venetians, whom he loved to paint.

Warrington Art Gallery have examples of these pictures by Henry.

He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1893 and was also elected a member of the Venetian Academy, because of his love for the city.