Art History in Gloucestershire
Artist of the Antarctic
"Cheltenham-born Edward Wilson is best remembered as a member of the ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott. Besides being a scientist, medical doctor and zoologist, Wilson was an accomplished artist. For evidence of that, take a tour of Cheltenham art gallery in Clarence Street, where you'll find a number of his watercolours on display.
"Wilson was brought up in a house at the Crippets overlooking Leckhampton. As a boy he developed a keen interest in birds and wildlife, which became the subject of many of his sketches. Wilson's paintings of the antarctic are wonderfully evocative and technically impressive. With an economy of style and just a few, sparse brush strokes, Wilson managed to capture the forbidding grandeur of the icy waste in which he perished a few short years later."
Credit: John Southgate, "The Gloucester News", 22nd December 2005
The History of the Cheltenham Exhibition
The following is taken from the Exhibitors newsletter from 1998:
"The first correspondence in our possession is a copy of a minute dated 18.02.1969. This outlines a proposal to hold the first Exhibition in the Imperial gardens from the 4th-13th July 1969 during the period of the Cheltenham festival. The meting was between Mr Flatterley and Mr Shinn of the Art College and Councillor T. Joyner (Chairman of the Libraries & Arts Committee), the Town Clerk, the Entertainments Manager, the Director of Parks and the Assistant Borough Architect. This was the first Open Air Art Exhibition.
"We also have a minute book covering the period from 16 April 1970-20th June 1973 which lists the original Committee formed to continue the Exhibition as an annual event, with Jack Critchley as Chairman, and shows the period of the 1970 exhibition as sat 4th July - Sun 19th July.
"In 1973 the Exhibition was staged for three weeks and established the format which in principal is still followed today, except for the extension to four weeks in recent years"
Victorian Artist's Rising Popularity
"A painting by the Gloucester artist Samuel Edmund Waller (1850-1903), entitled "Before the Morning Ride", recently came up for sale at Sotheby's in London with a price tag of £30,000. Not so long ago a picture by the same artist entitled "There was no Sign of Home from the Parapet" sold in San Francisco for $16,450.
"Waller was a painter and illustrator. He was born in Kingsholm and studied at Gloucester School of Art. From there he went to work for his father, who was an architect with a practice in Gloucester. Besides being an architect, Waller's father was a gentleman farmer and this close proximity to animals was probably why they feature in so many of the artist's works. Pretty well every one of his paintings features horses, dogs, or both. Samuel Waller went on to study at the Royal Academy at the age of 19. Then he embarked upon a painting tour of Ireland and published a collection of paintings made along the way, entitled 'Six Weeks in the Saddle'.
"The fact that Waller's paintings attract high bidders tells us that his brand of Victorian whimsy is currently fashionable. Two of the Gloucester artist's paintings can be seen in the Tate Gallery in London. His paintings have also adorned the lid of many a box of chocolates."
Credit: John Southgate, "The Gloucester News" 22nd December 2005