A Brief History of Walter Hoyle by Inexpensive Progress

Lindsell Church

Lindsell is a village neighbouring Great Bardfield, Essex. The church is dedicated to St Mary The Virgin and dates back to Norman period with many alterations since. It was a church that Bawden would paint and print from different angles being in walking distance from his home at Brick House.

Although the styles are much the same the colour pallets are different. The linocut at the bottom of the page is very large and in life, has the texture and detail as this first watercolour.

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 Edward Bawden – Lindsell Church, 1956

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 Edward Bawden – Lindsell Church, 1956

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 Edward Bawden – Lindsell Church, 1958

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 Edward Bawden – Lindsell Church, 1961 

Kenneth Rowntree War Pictures

Born in Scarborough, Kenneth Rowntree’s father was the manager of the local department store who displayed his work in the shop, this may have been why Rowntree changed from training to be a cellist to becoming an artist. He studied at the Ruskin Drawing School, Oxford and went to the Slade School in London.

In 1941, Rowntree had moved to Great Bardfield, settling with his wife Diana (née Buckley) into the “a handsome draughty house” Town House. There they would be neighbours to Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious lived in Castle Hedingham a few miles away.

The paintings Kenneth Rowntree made during war time are rather curious because they are not on the front line. Unlike many of the other official war artists, Rowntree was a Conscientious Objector. He did paint the domestic scenes of life during wartime, but not pictures of the war maneuvers.

The picture below is of a Polo Ground is a good example of his work. The pitch as been converted into growing produce and the people working for the war effort but making food.

The figure of the man signifying the every man worker to me says ‘we are all in this together’. Below are five of his paintings for the War Artist Scheme.

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 Kenneth Rowntree – A Polo Ground in War-time, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Foreign Servicemen in Hyde Park: Early Summer, 1940

In the picture above, the mixture of uniforms is a good indication of how many parties are mixed up in the conflict. A subtle communication.

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 Kenneth Rowntree – The Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts Canteen Concert, Isle of Dogs, London, E14, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – The Experimental Establishment, Shoeburyness: Firing through Screens, 1945

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Experimental Establishment, Shoeburyness, 1945

All the paintings below are part of the Recording Britain series.

In 1940, when the British landscape was under attack from the threat of German bombers, the Ministry of Labour, in association with the Pilgrim Trust commissioned many of Britain’s artists to go out and paint a record of the changing face of the country before it was too late. 

I think part of the romance of the pictures below is the lack of cars in pictures. No High Street in Britain will ever look beautiful again until cars are stored back in their garages and not parked on the street. Other than the Old Toll Bar House all the places are without figures, an empty world of architectural curiosity. I also feel that there is something beautiful about those multi-layered telegraph poles and wires in the same picture.

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Old Toll Bar House, Ashopton, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Underbank Farm, Woodlands, Ashdale, Derbyshire, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Scarborough, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – The Castle, Sheriff Hutton, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – The Bellringer’s Chamber, SS. Peter and Paul Church, Clare, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Cliff Bridge Terrace and Museum, Scarborough, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Grainfoot Farm, Derwentdale, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – The Smoke Room, Ashopton Inn, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – The Smoke Room, Ashopton Inn, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – St. Mary’s, Whitby – Exterior, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – The Smithy, Crathorne, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Rievaulx Abbey, 1940

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 Kenneth Rowntree – West Front of the Priory Church, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, 1941

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Chapel Tremadoc, Caernarvonshire, 1941

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 Kenneth Rowntree – North Landing, Flamborough, 1940

David Mellor, Gill Saunders, Patrick Wright – Recording Britain , 1990

Map Making

In my isolation I thought it would be fun to make a map of where the Great Bardfield artists painted from. To pinpoint the locations and tag the work. Well that is what I have done, so now you can sit at home and traverse their work using a modified version of Google Maps. I have also added a few more of the Fry Galleries other artists like Paul Beck.

The artists are colour indexed.
The House Pin – location of an artists home.
Camera Pin – The pins of from where the work was painted (I thought it would be more fun for people to stand in the spot where an artwork was painted)

Click here for the map

Beryl Maude Sinclair

Beryl Sinclair is one of those names that I love to find. Born in 1901, Beryl Bowker was the daughter of the Dr. G. E. Bowker, a Physician at the Bath Royal United Hospital. She lived with her mother and father in Combe Park, Bath. She studied at the Royal College of Art alongside Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious.

She was both a painter in oils and watercolours, as well as a potter.

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 Eric Ravilious – Morley College Mural – Life in a Boarding House, 1929

At the RCA she was known as Bowk. Ravilious painted her twice that we know, once into the Colwyn Bay Pier Murals by Ravilious in the kitchen with a plant and then again in one of the ‘lost’ Ravilious oil paintings – ‘Bowk at the sink’, 1929-30.

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 Eric Ravilious – Newhaven Harbour, 1935

She married Robert Sinclair, a London author and journalist, who wrote the Country Book on East London in 1950. The painting above by Ravilious was bought from the Zwemmer Gallery by Beryl Sinclair.

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 Beryl Sinclair – Regents Park, The Horseguards

They were living at 170 Gloucester Place, London. It might explain why many of her early paintings are of Regents Park as it’s less than 200 metres away.

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 Beryl Sinclair – Regents Park, Sussex Place

In 1939 she was part of the Artists International Association – Everyman’s Print series contributing two prints, The Row and Riding Procession. The AIA Everyman Prints exhibition was opened on 30 January by Sir Kenneth Clark.

In the early 1940s she was the Chairman of the Artists International Association.

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Essentially set up as a radically left political organisation, the AIA embraced all styles of art both modernist and traditional, but the core committee preferenced realism. Its later aim was to promote the “Unity of Artists for Peace, Democracy and Cultural Development”. It held a series of large group exhibitions on political and social themes beginning in 1935 with an exhibition entitled Artists Against Fascism and War.

The AIA supported the left-wing Republican side in the Spanish Civil War through exhibitions and other fund-raising activities. The Association was also involved in the settling of artists displaced by the Nazi regime in Germany. Many of those linked with the Association, such as Duncan Grant were also pacifists. Another of the AIA’s aims was to promote wider access to art through travelling exhibitions and public mural paintings.

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 Beryl Sinclair – Regents Park, Sussex Place

In late 1940s she was the Chair of the Woman’s International Art Club. The Women’s International Art Club, briefly known as the Paris International Art Club, was founded in Paris in 1900. The club was intended to “promote contacts between women artists of all nations and to arrange exhibitions of their work”, it provided a way for women to exhibit their art work. The membership of the club was international, and there were sections in France, Greece, Holland, Italy and the United States.

During WW2 she was part of a touring exhibition of art:

John Aldridge, Michael Rothenstein, John Armstrong, Kenneth Rowntree, Beryl Sinclair, and Geoffrey Rhoades. The paintings are touring Essex. They have already been to Maldon, Colchester, and Braintree.

She then joined the Council of Imperial Arts League in 1952 becoming the chairman in 1958.

During the war she was commissioned by Sir Kenneth Clark to execute paintings for the Civil Service canteen. She also contributed to the Cambridge Pictures for Schools scheme. She exhibited at the Royal Academy, New English Art Club, the London Group, Womans International Art Club, Artists International Association and shows at Leicester Galleries. Her work is in the collection of the Arts Council, The British Government, The Council for the Encouragement of Music and Art, Buckinghamshire County Museum

When married she moved to White Cottage, Grimsdell’s Lane, Amsersham in Buckinghamshire. She died in 1967.

 Beryl Sinclair Studio Pottery Mark.

Chelmsford Chronicle: Friday 13 November 1942
Wikipedia AIA

Forthcoming – A New Great Bardfield Autobiography

Before and After Great Bardfield: The Autobiography of Lucie Aldridge

Once considered lost, the forthcoming autobiography of Lucie Aldridge is released in the Summer of 2020. It covers her childhood in rural Cambridge at the end of the nineteenth century, her sisters, the Suffragette movement, her first marriage during WWI, and her life in London. That ‘London’ life was a release from the conventions of her childhood. She notes the famous parties of Cedric Morris and the Bright Young Things; meeting John Aldridge and finding herself in Majorca with Robert Graves and Laura Riding. There are too many people to list.

Following the success of Long Live Great Bardfield, The autobiography of Tirzah Garwood, Lucie’s book is a autobiography comes with a postscript by Inexpensive Progress detailing frankly the life and trials Lucie would go on to have in that Essex village.

If anyone has ever met Lucie, has any information on her, or her work (paintings and rugs) do please let me know at frozenocean18@hotmail.com but time is short!

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 Lucie by John Aldridge, 1930 (Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum)

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The Tennis Match

This is just a short little post. It looks at a familiar theme I have found in the work of Eric Ravilious, repetition. But in this case it is because both works in this post were inspired by the same location.

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 Eric Ravilious – Tennis (in the park), 1930

The painting above is a three part set of panels designed Sir Geoffrey Fry’s Music Room in Portman Square, London. 

Ravilious based them on the Manor Gardens at Eastbourne, and treated the panels as a continuous composition. Above you can see the mounted hill with steps. Below you can see it in the wood-engraving, then how it looks today.

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 Eric Ravilious – Manor Gardens, 1927

 Horse Mound, Manor Gardens, Eastbourne 

Coins

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Decimal Day in the United Kingdom was on 15 February 1971, the day on which each country decimalised its respective £sd currency of pounds, shillings, and pence.

The first decimal coins that appeared in the United Kingdom back in 1968 were a well-loved representation of British heritage at that time. 40 years later, in 2008, we wanted to update the coins with a fresh set of designs.

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The process began with a competition. The Royal Mint asked people to submit designs for the six coins that could stand alone or work as a set. We were looking for designs that would symbolise Britain, perhaps by using traditional heraldry, though designers were free to explore all options.

As well as inviting specially chosen artists and coin designers to submit designs, we also opened the competition out to the general public. People were invited to send in their designs for six coins: the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p pieces. The £1 was initially left out of the competition.

Here are Edward Bawden’s designs.

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Kenneth Rowntree Churches and Chapels

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Ethel House, Great Bardfield, 1942

In a previous post I featured the work of Walter Hoyle and his drawing of Little Saling Church in Bardfield Saling. In researching that I found the lovely paintings by Kenneth Rowntree below. The image above is Ethel House, Great Bardfield, where his friend Michael Rothenstein lived.

Rowntree trained at the Ruskin School of Drawing in Oxford, and then at the Slade in London. In 1939 he married the architect Diana Buckley. They associated with many of the modernist emigr architects in London at that time, and a strong architectural sense can often be felt in Rowntree’s work. He was a Quaker, and during the war became part of the ‘Recording Britain’ project, in which everyday life in wartime Britain was captured by a range of artists. When Diana became pregnant in 1941 they wished to move out of London, and Eric and Tirzah Ravilious found them a suitable house in Great Bardfield, close to the Bawdens’ home. Local churches provided a strong inspiration for much of his work here, but he also worked in London, Kent and Wales.

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 Kenneth Rowntree – SS Peter and Paul, Little Saling, Essex, 1942

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Interior of SS Peter and Paul, Little Saling, Essex, 1942

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 Kenneth Rowntree – The Organ Loft, SS Peter and Paul, Little Saling, 1942

And here are two bonus pictures of nearby church in North End, again, inside and out.

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Exterior, Black Chapel North End, Nr. Dunmow, 1942

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 Kenneth Rowntree – Interior, Black Chapel, North End, near Dunmow, Essex, 1942

Bardfield and the Beeb

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 Walter Hoyle – May, 1963

The BBC Book of the Countryside came out in 1963 and was edited by Arthur Phillips. It featured illustrations from the Great Bardfield artists Walter Hoyle and Sheila Robinson. There are also illustrations from John Nash and Ralph Thompson. It is a book packed with beautiful illustrations that is so often overlooked due to the title.  

A while ago I bought all six of the Walter Hoyle original ink illustrations from the book. I got them because they have illustrations made while Hoyle was in the Bardfield area and it’s important to see an artist while they are riding a creative peak.

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 Walter Hoyle – January, 1963

Walter Hoyle is in danger of being one of the forgotten Great Bardfield artists due to the lack of information on him. He was born in Rishton, Lancashire in July 1922. Hoyle’s artistic education started at the Beckenham School of Art in 1938,

I persuaded my local art school to accept me, and presented as evidence of my serious intent, a series of drawings much influenced by Walt Disney.

From Beckenham, Hoyle gained a place as a student at the Royal College of Art from 1940-42 and again from 1947-48 after serving in the Second World War. During Hoyle’s time at the RCA one of his tutors was Edward Bawden, who encouraged him to develop watercolours and printmaking.

It was 1940, the phoney war was about to end and the college was evacuated from London to Ambleside in the Lake District, famous for poets rather than artists. It was here that I was first introduced to printmaking – lithography – by a friend called Thistlethwaite, a fellow student from Oswaldtwistle (although these names are true, I mention them only because I like the sound they make). He prepared a litho stone for me with a beautiful finely ground surface and instructed me how to draw in line and wash. †

In 1948, During the RCA Diploma show a visitor was so impressed by Hoyle’s work that he was offered seven months’ work in the Byzantine Institute in Istanbul. Hoyle accepted, the work he saw there made a strong impression. Italian art and architecture also influenced him at that time.

Early in 1951 when Bawden was commissioned by the Festival of Britain to produce a mural for the Lion and Unicorn Pavilion on the South Bank, it was Hoyle that he chose to assist him on account of his great talent. During that summer Bawden invited Hoyle on a holiday to Sicily.

Edward asked to see my watercolours. He looked very carefully and quizzed me about them, and in general was complimentary and encouraging. I felt I had passed some kind of examination.

It was this holiday together that Hoyle would scribe into a limited edition booklet of 10 in 1990 and into a book in 1998 – “To Sicily with Edward Bawden” a limited edition of 350 copies with a forward by Olive Cook.

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 Geoffrey Ireland – Walter Hoyle at home in Great Bardfield c1955

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 Walter Hoyle – March, 1963

March I think is Hill Farm in Great Sampford, Essex.

The BBC Book of the Countryside features articles by different nature writers and journalists from the BBC from farming to wildlife. It comes from The Countryside radio show.

Selected from over five hundred scripts and sixty-seven hours of broadcasting, this anthology depicts life and activity in the British countryside as seen through the eyes of some of the contributors to the BBC’s monthly Countryside programme during the past eleven years. 

C. Gordon Glover, whose narrative sets the scene for each chapter, lives in an Essex village and the changing face of the countryside from month to month is portrayed as he sees it, from his kitchen window — from the bridge over the village

Claude Gordon Glover was a BBC Radio Broadcaster (you can hear him present an edition of The Countryside here) and he lived in Arkesden, a few miles West of Saffron Walden. He was also for a time, the lover of Barbara Pym. His broadcasts consist of a Betjeman like prose over classical music and the song of birdsong likely to be heard that month. Below is a selection of October.

October: Lovely October of the half-way days, the wayward pause between the certainties of summer and winter – the one is well over, the other not yet begun. For the countryman everywhere this is the month of the great tidying up – the sweeping, the burning, the cleaning, the digging, the transference upon dry days of apples from tree to store. The suns of summer have done their work, the land has given forth and the harvest is home. 

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 Walter Hoyle – November, 1963

Above is a picture for November by Hoyle and in the background is Bardfield Saling church. It is always good to prove that pictures are relevant to artists lives and the history of Great Bardfield. Curiously enough, the artist Celia Hart suggested that the guy might be a self portrait of Walter himself. 

The photograph below was taken by John Piper in the late 40s or early 50s when he was working on the Shell Guides and just finished three of the Murray’s Guidebooks with John Betjeman. 

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John Piper – Photograph of St. Peter & St. Paul’s church, Bardfield Saling, c1950

A poem for May:
A branch of May I have bought you
And at your door we shall stand
It is but a spout but it’s well spread about
By the words of our Lord’s hand. 

Fair Maids look out of your window so high
To view the May-Bush fair,
it was cut down so late last night
To take the fresh morning air.
 

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 Walter Hoyle – September, 1963

In 1969 Walter Hoyle illustrated the ‘Women’s Institute book of Party Recipes’. This series of little illustrations are some of his best in my opinion.

They form a curious set of mixed media works that I believe to have been printed by Hoyle in lithograph then sent off to the book printers to be mass-printed, with the look of being a lithograph, but without it being so. Clearly the book was designed to be cheaply printed, for one it is spiral bound – but this is rather helpful in a cookery book. The other indicator of cheapness is that it has a very limited colour palette of orange, red and black. It was printed by Novello & Co Ltd, who mostly make sheet-music scores.

Below is an illustration from the cookery book of a man picking apples in an orchard and, above is almost the same drawing made four years later for the BBC Book of the Countryside by Walter Hoyle in 1963. As the WI book illustration have been drawn on to printing plate the image would have been reversed – so the ladder, man and fruit crate are a mirror image to the figures below. I know the picture from the Countryside book isn’t mirrored as it came from an ink drawing and I own those drawings.

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† Printmaking Today, Volume 7, 1998. page 9-10.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mary_Abchurch
♠ To Sicily with Edward Bawden, Previous Parrot Press, 1998.
The Great Bardfield Exhibition by Gerald Marks, Realism, August – September, 1955
http://www.fryartgallery.org/the-collection/search-viewer/691/artist/15/Walter-Hoyle–/22