Herbert Ivan Babbage was born in Adelaide, Australia, in 1875. The family subsequently moved to New Zealand. He was the great grandson of Charles Babbage, the famous mathematician.
He attended the London School of Art in 1902 and it is in that year when he visited Benfleet and painted Knightleys before it became Knightleys…the previous owner being a Miss Harriet Butcher. He travelled in Europe, but returned to New Zealand in 1909. However by 1913 he was living in St Ives as were many other artists. With the advent of world war one he joined the Royal Defence Corps deployed to protect Cardiff. Sadly this service caused health problems which resulted in his death on 14th October, 1916.
The painting has been reproduced on this site courtesy of Mrs Sue Abraham, Wanganui, New Zealand and facilitated by Jim Norris. If anyone knows of other Benfleet scenes by this artist, please do get in touch.
For further information on this artist a book entitled “When the lark rises : Herbert Ivan Babbage 1875 -1916” has been published by Jim Norris . It is full of illustrations of his work from around the world, but only one of Benfleet has come to light …so far.