On this day!

20th September 1884 

With kind permission of the British Newspaper Archives, we publish a portion of a very long article which appeared in The Ipswich Journal on this day 133 years ago. 


At Walberswick! The name may mean nothing to many people; but those who paint or frequent picture galleries will remember that it is a little seaside place in Suffolk. And a very curious and quaint little village It is. It has a church in ruins, in part of which, however, service is still held; it has an ancient and deserted harbour, which once saw much traffic, but is now like a haven of the dead. Old anchors rescued from the sea lie picturesquely among the long grass which fringes the river, for the harbour is formed by the mouth of the Blythe, while worn and wave-beaten boats which will do battle with the waters no more are laid to rest beside the fishermen’s huts. The cottages are not in particularly good repair, which shows that the lord of the manor has an eye to his pocket as well as the picturesque; and altogether the place is one which, while it may not attract the ordinary seaside visitor, has many charms for artists. 

And the artists have long ago discovered Walberswick. Here Mr. Keene, of Punch, who is, I believe, an Ipswich man, sketched in old days; here Maccallum painted the river, and the venerable Todd, who is the ferryman of the place; here Dr. Evershed found inspiration for some of his most charming etchings; while Marks and Aumonier, Frank and Everrard Cox, have all transferred bits of Walberswick to their canvases. The “Wick,” as it is affectionately called, and adjacent Southwold have figures in many galleries. Mr Keeley Halswelle had a picture of the Marshes in the Institute this year. Mr. Weedon’s clever brush has worked assiduously in this part of the country. Some of Mr. James MacCulloch’s most delightful water-colours have been done here, and Presentments of Southwold and Walberswick by Mrs. Savile Clarke were hung in the recent Exhibitions at the Institute and Grosvenor Gallery. 

The place, in fact, has been painted as much as Bettws-y-coed and other artist-haunted spots; and, as the professional artists have led the way, in rushes the amateur, and now, I am sorry to say, you cannot stir at Walberswick without tumbling over a drawingboard or “coming a cropper” over a campstool. The male amateur is conspicuous for his artistic “get up.” He wears a very slouch hat, his hair and beard want cutting, and his coat and pipe are aggressively suggestive of Howland-street and the Bohemianism that has now, I am thankful to say, gone out of fashion. For Bohemianism and baths did not go together, and a man had much better give up being a genius if it involves the loss of his morning tub. Our masculine amateur artist, then, is got up like a brigand; and as he flourishes his appliances in your face at every corner, goes about with others of his kidney and noisily admires the view, making a frame of his hands and indulging in other supposed artistic antics, he is an unmitigated nuisance. One or two of the smaller fry of professional artists might also leave Walberswick and it would be improved, for they do no good there, and hang about the Bell taking of “brushes” having arrived when they mean other artists, and puzzling the natives by their second-rate artistic slang and their copious consumption of beer.

…….. J.G.W. In the Court Circular.


To be continued…..

By Contributing Editor on September 20th, 2017