An Artists Influence Who Was He

A Memory of Buckhurst Hill

In the late 1950s, when I was around ten years old, I spent a number of school summer holidays staying with the McPherson family who lived on the fringes of Knighton Woods near Buckhurst Hill in Essex. On these visits I spent many a long summer day exploring the woods with ‘Jimmy’ their son. These were halcyon, ‘Just William’, days and we spent many a good time around the ponds gathering newts and tadpoles or crawling through the undergrowth like two characters from a scene in Robin Hood.

On several occasions I remember coming across the figure of an archetypal artist - like the one Alfred Bestal drew in the Rupert annuals. We often saw him in his fedora hat, sitting mixing oil colours on his palette, working at a canvas which he had propped on his portable wooden easel.

As a budding ‘young’ artist I befriended him and often sat beside him admiring his progress while he patiently gave me tips and advice about how to paint.

I have often wondered who he was. Now that I am retired from my role as a university [yes] art and design lecturer I am trying to solve the mystery - does anyone remember him and his impressionistic paintings of the trees and ponds in Knighton Woods?

Can anyone put a name to this character?

A memory shared by Barry Wenden , on Aug 14th, 2010.

Comments & feedback

Wed Jul 16th 2014, at 7:58 pm

jackiephil1 commented:

I had a friend,Susan Bowerman or Bowman,her father was an artist,maybe it was him,they lived at the top of Priinces Road in the 50s/60s.i can't recall his first name,I'm not sure if I knew it,it often wasn't the done thing then for youngsters to address adults by their first name.
Susan,a girl called Jackie Staines and I used to knock about together.Jackie lived on the estate behind the allotments by the fields at the bottom end of BH.

Thu Jan 1st 2015, at 7:54 pm

stephen.denne commented:

The artist may have been Walter Spradbury who lived at The Wilderness in a patch of forest on the west side of the High Road, not far south of the cricket ground. He was well known for his London Transport posters but also painted in the forest. Picture here: http://ww2poster.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/walter-s.jpg

Stephen

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