Posted by: okathleen | November 12, 2008

Lady Waterford*

Lady Louisa, later Lady Waterford is on the right of this painting.

Northwich Market is my new Mecca. Each week I drop off Florence at the Age Concern Shop. This is part of her D of E spec – volunteering in the community. Next door is the Market. I am addicted for several reasons.

1. A Scouser sits behind his stall doing The Mail crossword with the aid of a large silver magnifying glass. He sells random glass and china. In one corner is a 50p bargain box, where so far I have bought a pair of cut glass Victorian knife rests (why?), a 1950’s Basset hound money box called Bonzo and a square glass plate impressed with whirling fish, which I am pretending is Galle.

2. A real sweet seller with Thornton’s misshapes and liquorice comfits, and vimto bonbons.

3. An Antiquarian bookseller, who has the most wonderful, eclectic collection of leather bound, and hand marbled-paper books. I looked for a long time at ‘The Victorian Bee Keeper’, two volumes of green leather treasures, but at £48 the pair the bees will have to wait. Again he has a corner devoted to the dregs of his collection at £1 each. And here I bought a Chambers’s Journal, sixth series, Vol II, December1898 to November 1899.

This was a book ubiquitously supplied to the School Board for London as prizes. Mine was awarded to Marjorie Camfield on the 2nd of February 1904 for Freehand Drawing. It is fairly unputdownable. Marjorie could read about The New Cure for Consumption, Sebastopol Today, or Who Abolished Flogging in the Army. But on page 302 is a chapter entitled: Art and Literature in the Schoolroom.

It recounts the back story then the success of the Art for Schools Assc (29 Queen Square, London), of which Ruskin was President. He stated:

“… the best study of all is the most beautiful, and that a quiet glade of a forest, or the nook of a lake shore is worth all the school rooms in Christendom when once you are past the multiplication table; but, be that as it may, there is no question at all but that a time ought to come in the life of a well-trained youth when he can sit at a writing table without wanting to throw the inkstand at his neighbour, and when, also, he will feel more capable of certain efforts of mind with beautiful and refined forms about him than with ugly ones. When that time comes he ought to be advanced into the decorated schools, and this advance ought to be one important and honourable epoch of his life.”

Hence portfolios of prints, photographs, engravings were supplied at reduced costs to elementary and secondary schools – so that boys would not have to ‘look at blank plaster above and about them’.

And back to Lady Waterford, who, on the premature death of her husband, got busy painting biblical scenes using the local serfs as models, and then used these huge paintings to adorn Ford schoolroom. And on to the 21st c, where in the chaos and tragedy of war ravaged Congo, art is being used to ‘heal’ children. Film director Danny Boyle says in The Times on November 11:

“Through the arts young children living in catastrophic circumstances need to be given something to live for and something through which to express their lives.”


Above lists online HG journals.


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