Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gilbert Spencer

Artist: Gilbert Spencer.
We now swing back to another Cookham Artist who chose to live elsewhere so as not to be in his famous elder brothers shadow, which is very difficult as most younger brothers attest to. This was the case of young Gilbert Spencer. His art training followed closely that of his brother Stanley, which included a short period at the Slade School of Art.

He also followed his brother into the RAMC in the First World War, and also did quite a few sketches of his experiences in Mesopotamia.

The Crucifiction (1915).

As you can see in his early painting of “The Crucifixion”, his work resembles very closely that of his brother, maybe it was the Slade School influence at that time, I have no idea, but I can see why he wanted to be away doing his own thing. It was painted in a meadow in Cookham in 1915 before being called up to serve in the First World War. Mind you he did not complete all the Slade School courses with Fred Brown and Henry Tonks as the war interrupted his studies. His earlier studies were with Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts, and wood carving at the Royal College of Art, 1911-12.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Dean Bottom

Redaways Cottage.
Besides working in the garden Sidney loved potted plants, his favourites being African Violets, of which he grew a great many varieties for which he became well known as: “The African Violet Man.”
This last watercolour of “Redaways Cottage” in Dean Bottom, once again demonstrates the prowess of this mans technical drafting skills of everything in proportion and scale, together with the light and shade.

As mentioned before he had a love of science and things scientific which included astronomical studies. So much so, that he wrote a few science-fiction stories for his own pleasure and that of the family, none of which were ever published.

Sidney passed away on the 29th of May 2001 at the age of 93. Leaving behind a great wealth of skill and knowledge, which he had contributed, so freely to the village.
I also wish to thank, his youngest daughter Diana, for her contribution of information, and copies of her fathers work.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A dell in Quarry Woods

A Quarry Woods Dell.

Sidney loved nature, and working in his garden gave him great pleasure. He was by all accounts on very good terms with the birds that visited the garden at Durlston. For instance when digging, and he came across a worm, he would stand back and let the local resident robin fly down and pick it up. He and the robin were on such good terms, that it would hop in through the kitchen door to look for crumbs.
He seldom ever left the village and found his greatest pleasure in his walks, for instance one of his favourite places to walk was Quarry Woods, as you can see in his painting above of a dell among the beeches.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cock Marsh from the Hill

Cock Marsh from the Hill.
Besides being an excellent technical artist as seen in the view of Cock Marsh as seen from the top of the hill just west of the railway line. The Thames can just be seen at the base of the two Lombardy Poplar Trees.

Sidney was also a builder of things in wood. At the bottom of the garden at “Durlston” he built a summerhouse for the family, and one winter he built a wooden kayak canoe in the family living room. As daughter Diana relates, “Mummy was not very happy!” When completed a problem arose! How to get the boat out of the house in one piece. Sidney with all his calculations had not given this a thought. In the end there was only one way, out through the bay window, luckily it just made it, much to Joan’s joy to see it out of the house.

For many years along with the village pantomime crew of Albert and Christine Millard, Bert Felstead, Desmond Atkinson and many others. He constructed model stage sets for the annual festive show. He also had an interest in puppets, and built a puppet theatre for the family. He managed to do all this and keep up with his commissions as they came in. He was to say a very busy man.

Some evenings his daughter Diana use to accompany her father to the railway station to send off a completed work to London by train. I have stated earlier that Sidney wanted to take up science, but had to settle for art. During their walk along High Road Diana relates that her father could name and point to all the major constellations in the northern hemisphere. His interest also was concerned in the gases that formed the earth’s atmosphere, and when the De Havilland Comet first went into service, what damage it would do to the environment, or any other aircraft with jet engines. Was global warming at the back of his mind?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Village Forge Watercolour

A Jewell Watercolour.
During his first few years in Cookham Sidney was kept quite busy with commissions coming in from mainly London and other places in the UK, with the odd commission from abroad. Although he held a drivers license, his family never knew him to drive in Cookham. He preferred to walk everywhere he went and his camera at the ready.

It was his wife Joan, who was the driver in the family, who could be seen driving around the village in her little green two-door Vauxhall. Also in 1952 Diana the third addition to the Jewell family appeared on the scene.

The majority of Sidney’s work was scraperboard art for the commercial market. His free time work was in pencil sketches, quite a few can be found in: http://www.ashtav.org.uk/cookham_profile.htm where he worked very closely with Desmond Atkinson of village Pantomime fame.

The painting above is of a much later vintage after Sidney retired and was able to walk around the three Cookham’s at will. It is painted after Tom Emmett had given up the forge and Mr. E.A. Knight had moved his garage from the top of the high Street and Sutton Road.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Jewell's arrive in Cookham.

Wisteria Cottage.
The move to Cookham.

Around the end of the war Joan and Christine moved to live with her in-laws and was joined by Sidney on de-mob from the Royal Navy. By 1947 they were looking for a home of their own with the arrival of their second child, a boy, David. Both Joan and Sidney had fallen in love with Cookham and came back looking for a house. They were lucky to find “Durlston” in High Road, Cookham Rise. So with a little five-year-old girl and a baby boy in tow, they came to make Cookham their home in 1947.

Sidney was able to work from home, and was able to ship his finished artwork off via rail from Cookham Station. As I have mentioned before he was a technical artist and most of his work was completed from photographs. The finished work was wrapped in brown paper and string, most of the time arrived at the destination in perfect shape. Of course there was the odd shipment that came back to be reworked or replaced.

The sketch of Wisteria Cottage is one of Sidney’s collection of village buildings.

As I have mentioned all of Sidney’s work was completed from his High Road home. The sketch above was most likely commissioned by the Haig Whiskey Company for a billboard advertisement.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Jewell Sketch

A Jewell Sketch.
At the beginning of the Second World War, Sidney found himself doing something to help the war effort, that of being an Ambulance Driver during the early part of the Blitz on London. It was while he was doing this volunteer work that he was told to look after a young lady named Joan Hartridge. Sidney’s reply was “If you want me to look after Joan, then the best way I can do that, is to marry her!” So they were married, but the time, and place are unknown to the family. It is known that soon after Sidney joined the Royal Navy as a Gunnery Officer and Joan was evacuated to Cookham with her first child a baby girl with the name of Christine in 1942, to live with Miss Dixon who lived on Lower Road in Cookham Rise.

Again it is not known for sure by the family, but again it is thought that Sidney visited Joan any time that his leave permitted.

The sketch above is thought to be one of Miss Dixon that he did while on leave from the Royal Navy. Though it has not been ascertained for sure.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sidney Jewell (continued)

Sidney Thomas Jewell.
(Thought to be in his early twenty's.)

Sidney was born on the 31st of March 1908 to the son of a London tailor. He was quite a bright all round student at school winning himself a scholarship Hornsby College of Art, which his father insisted that he take, although his true love was in science and all its hidden mysteries, and although this hidden longing stayed with him all his life, he realized that his life’s path had been cast for him.

His life as a commercial artist lent itself to an area of technical production in the newspapers and magazines, together with a newly formed technique of “Scraperboard Art.”

The self-portrait that is above was one he did at the age of eighteen in 1926.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Sidney Jewell Story.

The Sidney Jewell Story.
We now go into more recent village history and that to a man who was very well known by one and all during his lifetime and more over during his retirement. Sidney Jewell will be remembered as he walked everywhere in the village with his camera at the ready. Also he will be known and well remembered by the past artists and producers of the Cookham Pantomime.
With the very grateful help that I received from his daughter Diana I am able to bring and record some of his life to you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Peter Stubberfield old Home.

Peter Stubberfield Home.
Just to round off the story of Peter Stubberfield and his Bugatti hill climb racing days. I have now included the location of where he lived during his residence in Cookham. The house and garage are located just to the right of the X. In this Google shot from space.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Woodcut or Scraperboard

Woodcut or Scraperboard.
(Note: The drawing above has been greatly enhanced to show the layers.)
I have already introduced you to Frederick Walker and his woodcut art, of which he was quite a prolific producer. I have another local artist who used something similar in technique, except that the material became the fashion between the two world wars.

I have four explanations and descriptions these techniques and I hope that you will be able to form your own conclusions.
Relief Printing:
The oldest form of printing. The parts that stand up in relief are the parts that carry the ink and make the marks on the paper. Letter presses work by having movable lead type with the letters in relief. Woodcut, wood engravings & scraperboard can be combined with movable type so that illustrations can be mixed with text and printed together.
Scraperboard, Wood engraving, Woodcut.
A method of relief printing. Lines are cut through a surface of card into the chalk filling of the board. In appearance it looks much like wood engraving, only sometimes it has greater areas of black with less white lines. Scraperboard illustrations are often called woodcuts.
Wood Engraved:
A form of relief printing. Lines are cut into the end grain of the wood. This method produces clearer more even lines than woodcuts. There are two main forms of wood engraving/ woodcutting, the black line and the white line. The older is the black line in which the illustration is made to stand up from the block by cutting away until only the lines of the illustration are left. In the white line method, pioneered by Thomas Bewick, the lines are the unprinted part of the illustration, with the areas between being the black printed part.
Often used as a term to cover true woodcuts, wood engravings & scraperboard illustrations. It is a form of relief printing and so woodcut illustrations can be set in the same plate as type and printed along with the text. Strictly a woodcut is cut along the side of wood, giving a difference between those strokes that cut along the grain and those that cut across the grain. It was the first form of illustration to be used for books.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Seymour Home in Maidenhead Court.

The Seymour Home Location.

My researches have now located where Admiral Seymour and his sister lived in retirement in Maidenhead Court. Hedsor View was located on what is now named Court Park Road. Next to Colchester House and Redlands, quite close to a row of cottages named Cuba Cottages.

After the Admiral died his sister sold up and moved, and a family named “Horeley” who had two daughters whose names were Sally & Gillian. They remained in the house until the early 1950’s.

So who ever is living there now I wonder, are they aware of the fact that once it was the home of a retired Admiral of the Fleet.