The Walberswick Enigma - Artists Inspired by the Blyth Estuary
Walberswick and the Blyth Valley have attracted artists for nearly two centuries. The visits of PHILIP WILSON STEER and CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH are now common knowledge, but a great many other major artists worked in the area.
Blythburgh, too, had its artist residents: ERNEST CROFTS RA, SIR JOHN SEYMOUR LUCAS RA, and WILLIAM BENNER all had homes in the village.
In the early nineteenth century CORNELIUS VARLEY and PETER DE WINT, both prominent water-colourists, made studies of Walberswick church, while in the 1860s and 1870s CHARLES KEENE, very highly regarded in his day, produced drawings and etchings of riverside subjects.
The mid–1880s saw a substantial influx of young artists, mainly Paris-trained, who later became very prominent: many had also spent time in the burgeoning artist colonies in Brittany and Cornwall. Perhaps the best–known of the ‘new wave’ was Steer, but other notable visitors of the period included FREDERICK BROWN, Slade Professor for many years; SIR FRANK SHORT, Head of the School of Engraving at the RCA, and the Irish Academicians WALTER OSBORNE, NATHANIEL HILL and AUGUSTUS BURKE.
Blythburgh Society - The History Notes: The Walberswick Enigma. Artists inspired by the Blyth Estuary
Between the wars the arrival of distinguished artists continued unabated. These included Royal Academicians SIR ARNESBY BROWN, SIR GEORGE CLAUSEN, R. O. DUNLOP and BERTRAM PRIESTMAN. More permanently domiciled in the village were W. F. CRITTALL, ALLAN DAVIDSON and TOM VAN OSS.
Since World War 2, artists with homes in Walberswick have included CLIFFORD RUSSELL, ERIC SCOTT, CHRIS and WENDY SINCLAIR, SIDNEY SEYMOUR LUCAS and WILLIAM BOWYER RA, while visitors have included BERNARD DUNSTAN RA, SIR WILLIAM COLDSTREAM and F. W. BALDWIN. These are merely the tip of a huge iceberg - the list seems endless.
The attraction defies clear analysis, but must involve elemental considerations: water, air, light and space, combined with a compellingly haunting atmosphere.
R. R. Scott, Walberswick, October 1995.
Back to the History Index
Some Favourite Websites For December 2023:
Halesworth Millennium Green – The largest Millennium Green in England
Halesworth Millennium Green is a magical place to explore in all seasons and weathers. Come and find your favourite corner amongst the meadows, woodlands, rivers, ponds, heathland, orchard and along the historic route of the old railway and the even older navigation.
Juliet Penwarden Coaching – Juliet Penwarden Coaching - Horse riding and care
Juliet is an experienced and qualified coach who places a strong emphasis on harmony between horse and rider and takes great pleasure in helping partnerships progress, whatever their goals.
1 Little Dingle Cottages – Self-catering accommodation for up to twelve people
This country cottage stands between Dunwich Forest and Dingle Marshes. Apart from the adjacent cottage it is quite isolated, being a mile from Dunwich village. Surrounded by open countryside, marshes, reedbeds and forest. Several major nature reserves are close by, with wildlife and birds to be seen on or near the property. Walks from the cottage. Parking. Pets by arrangement.
Lighthouse View – Superb Southwold self-catering cottage for four
Lighthouse View in Southwold is a comfortable and welcoming holiday cottage sleeping four in two bedrooms. This early-Victorian cottage is in the very heart of this attractive coastal town and the front door it is just yards from the promenade and sea.
Waveney Wholesale – Suppliers of toys, novelties, giftware, china, housewares, pet items, beach goods and so much more
Established Halesworth-based suppliers with over 3000 lines stocked. On-line ordering or call and collect.