Father: Richard Harraden (1756-1838)
Richard Harraden was a topographical draughtsman and printmaker. Although living at 2 Great Newport Street, London, by 1797 he had premises in Great St Mary’s Lane, Cambridge and produced a series of large aquatint views of Cambridge colleges entitled Views of Cambridge Drawn by Rd Harraden. He exhibited four views of Cambridge at the Royal Academy in London in 1799: Queens’ College, King’s College Chapel and Clare Hall, The Library of Trinity College and Part of St John’s, and The Senate Public Library and King’s College Chapel. He provided aquatints for Thomas Girtin’s Views of Paris (1803), and a series of etched costume plates of Cambridge academic dress.
Richard Bankes Harraden (1778-1862)
Richard Bankes Harraden was a printmaker and also a painter working in oil and watercolour. He worked with his father and two other artists to produce 24 engraved plates of Cambridge academics entitled Cantabrigia depicta (Cambridge: Harraden & Son, 1809-10).
Little is known of his life. He was living in Cambridge by at least 1841, the census for which lists his wife, Sophia, and three daughters: Phoebe (20), Eleanor (19) and Catherine (12). By the 1861 census his wife had died, and he is listed as ‘Retired Artist’ aged ’80’, with a daughter Phoebe J. Harraden, aged 25, living in the Regent Street area. In 1830, he produced his own Illustrations of the University of Cambridge, 58 plates, of which 24 had previously formed part of Cantabrigia depicta.
Of the Cambridge colleges, he painted Downing, Emmanuel, Jesus, several views of King’s and its Chapel, Peterhouse with Little St Mary’s Church, Queens’, St. Catharine’s, St John’s, Trinity, Trinity Hall, and also Great St Mary’s Church, the Senate House, and King’s Parade.
He also produced other views in the Cambridge area such as Wimpole Hall, Madingley Church, Whittlesford Church, Ely and St Ives, and painted other places in England, including Oxford University (Christchurch from Merton Fields, Magdalen), Eaton Hall in Cheshire, Warwick Castle, Eton College from several vantage points, Gloucester Cathedral, the Isle of Wight, scenes in Italy and Greece, and pastoral landscapes.
One of his latest paintings must have been that of the mortuary chapel of Mill Road Cemetery, which must date from after 27 January 1861 because it features his wife’s grave prominently in the foreground, accurately depicted with the correct inscription. He used artistic license to curve the central path round to the left so as to place that grave directly in front of the chapel.
His works are still to be found in auction houses today, are reproduced as prints and posters, and can be sought online. The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge has a number of his works in a variety of media including oil, watercolour, graphite with watercolour, and pen and ink with watercolour.
Parish : St Bene’t
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Mike Petty, ‘The Illustrators’, Cambridge Weekly News, 14 January 1988, p. 16
communication from the library of the Royal Academy
communication from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
By Ian Bent