Wednesday 29 August 2018

The Rev. Canon Cyril Lomax - artist and WW1 Chaplain

Anglican Church Minister, the Reverend Canon Cyril Lomax, Rector of Holy Trinity Church in Washington, Tyne and Wear, UK from 1899 to 1946, volunteered to serve as a Chaplain with the Royal Army Chaplain's Department during the First World War.

The Rev. Lomax was posted to the 8th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry and went with them to the Western Front from July 1916 until April 1917. Cyril, who was a talented artist, saw first-hand the devastation during the Somme Offensive from July to November 1916, describing and sketching the reality of life in the trenches.  His letters are about the physical and mental strains of trench warfare. During his time on the Western Front, The Rev. Lomax witnessed one of the first tank battles.

Cyril Lomax was born on 8th June 1871 in Eaton, near Congleton, Cheshire, UK.  His father was John Lomax, an Anglican Church Minister and his mother was Ellen Margaret Lomax. Cyril had the following siblings:  John A., b. 1862, Margaret, b. 1863, Jessy, b. 1865 and Bernard, b. 1866.

Historian Debbie Cameron has researched the Reverend Canon Lomax from the Imperial War Museum's Archives where his diaries are kept.   With many thanks to Debbie for these amazing drawings.

Donald Graeme MacLaren (1886- 1917) – British soldier artist

Donald Graeme MacLaren was born on 23rd January 1886 in Kensington, London, UK.  His parents were James Marjoribanks MacLaren (1853 – 1890), an architect, and Margaret  Mathieson MacLaren, nee McColl (1858 -1908).  Graeme had the following siblings:  John Leslie MacLaren and James Ewing MacLaren, twins born in September 1884, emigrated to South Carolina where John Leslie - always known as Leslie -  Janet S., b. 1888, Dorothy, b. 1890.

Donald’s parents met when James MacLaren was working in London and attended St John's Presbyterian Church in Allen Street, Kensington. The minister there was the Rev. Dugald MacColl from Glasgow. James became friendly with MacColl's son, Dugald Sutherland MacColl and on 28 February 1883 James MacLaren married Dugald's sister Margaret Mathieson MacColl.

Donald studied at the Slade School of Art, 1903-08, winning several prizes for figure compositions.

In 1913 he married Violet A Thomson in Liverpool.  When war broke out, Donald joined the 10th Battalion (Liverpool Scottish) of the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment as a Private.   At the time of his death on the Western Front on 29th June 1917, Donald was a Second Lieutenant.  He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Ploegstreert Memorial in Belgium on Panel 3.

Donald’s uncle, Dugald Sutherland MacColl (1859-1948), became Keeper of the Wallace Collection (1911 – 1924) and then of the Tate Gallery. He was an artist, art critic, poet and founder of the National Art Collections Fund. He was friendly with many of the literary figures of the day - W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Lady Gregory, Max Beerbohm, H.G. Wells, Charles Ricketts, Augustus John, Auguste Rodin, Roger Fry and Walter Crane.  Donald painted his uncle's portrait in 1905.

I am trying to find a photograph or self portrait of Donald Graeme MacLaren and examples of some of his work.  If anyone can help please get in touch.

Monday 27 August 2018

Brian Hatton (1887 – 1916) British soldier artist

Brian Hatton was born in Broomy Hill, Herefordshire on 12th August 1887.  His parents were Alfred Hatton, b. 1857, a boot and shoe manufacturer, and his wife, Amelia Roberta Hatton, nee Keay, b.1865. Brian had the following siblings - Ailsa Marr, b. 1894 and Marjorie, b. 1896.

Brian demonstrated a talent for drawing and painting at a young age.  When he was eleven years old, he was awarded the ‘Gold Star’ by the Royal Drawing Society. After spending a year at Oxford University, Brian travelled in Europe and then went to study at Hospitalfields Art School in Arbroath, Scotland. In 1908 Brian went to live in London and attended an art school in South Kensington. He also spent time at the National Gallery copying paintings.  During 1908, Brian was invited to join an archaeological expedition to Egypt, which was led by the English Egyptologist Professor William Flinders Petrie.

WW1 poet Gerald Siordet and Brian Hatton met when they were studying at Oxford University – Siordet at Balliol Colleg and Hatton at Trinity College.  They set up a studio together in London in 1912 - The Bronze Door studio in South Kensington.  Hatton received many commissions and soon he was so busy he found it difficult to spare time to return to Hereford and visit his father and siblings.  In 1913 he received a royal commission from Windsor Castle to make drawings of Princess Alice’s children, Prince Rupert and Princess May.   Princess Alice was the longest surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria.  The success of that particular commission led to many more commissions from wealthy people

When war broke out, Brian enlisted in September 1914 as a Tooper with the 1/1 Worcestershire Yeomanry, a cavalry regiment.  Brian married Lydia May Bidmead, known as Biddy, by special licence before leaving for France with his Regiment.  Their daughter, Mary Amelia, was born on 21st September 1915.  Brian obtained leave to visit his wife and daughter before being posted to Egypt.

Brian Hatton was killed on 23rd April 1916 during the Battle of Katia, which took place about 25 miles east of the Suez Canal. Fifty Royal Engineers, together with a detachment of The Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars, which was sent to guard them, were sinking a well when they were attacked by more than two thousand Turkish infantry troops.  At the time of his death, Brian was a Second Lieutenant.

The art critic, Walter Shaw Sparrow described Brian Hatton as ‘possessing the rarest of all things - true genius’, and the watercolour painter Adrian Bury described him as ‘a genius unique in the history of British art’.

Brian Hatton's work has been shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum and The British Museum. Examples of his work are to be found in the Brian Hatton Gallery at Churchill Gardens, Hereford.

Gerald Siordet was in France when he heard the news of his friend’s death. He wrote to his cousin Val Burkhardt to ask for information, since Burkhardt was then serving in Egypt.  Captain Burkhardt replied on 27th September 1916 stating that he 'was having a better memorial made than the few sticks and the bottom of a biscuit tin bearing an illegible inscription that he found'.  A footnote to that letter stated that, after the war, those Worcester Yeomen were reburied in Kantara War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt. Brian’s Grave Reference in that Cemetery is A. 9.

Gerald Caldwell Siordet, artist, poet and critic who taught Aldous Huxley, joined the Rifle Brigade was wounded and awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry during The Somme Offensive in 1916, when he took over command when his Commanding Officer was killed. Once recovered, Gerald was posted to Mesopamia and was killed on 9th February 1917, leading an attack on a Turkish position. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Basra Memorial in Iraq.

Photo:  Brian in his studio photographer unknown
Sketch:  "Civilisation" by Brian Hatton

Find my Past and Free BMD and
Celia Davies,  “Brian Hatton, A Biography of the Artist (1887-1916)”, (Terence Dalton, Lavenham 1978)

An excellent book about Egypt during WW1 “Tracing your Great War Ancestors: The Egypt and Palestine Campaigns – A Guide for family historians” by Stuart Hadaway, Pen & Sword Family History, Barnsley, Yorkshire, 2017.

Monday 20 August 2018

Reginald Grange Brundrit (1883 - 1960) – British

With thanks to Sergio Sbalchiero for his help in discovering Brundrit, his war-time service on the Italian Front and some of his WW1 paintings.

Born in Toxteth Park, Liverpool on 13th May 1883, Reginald’s parents were Joseph Brundrit and his wife, Mary Ellenor Brundrit, nee Lacock.  After the death of his Father, Reginald and his mother went to live in Skipton in Yorkshire, where Mary was born.

Educated in Skipton, then at Bradford Grammar School, Reginald went on to study art at Bradford School of Art, before moving to London to study at the Slade School. Reginald also studied as a private pupil with John Swan, RA.   Reginald was predominantly a landscape and portrait painter. He exhibited around two hundred of his paintings between 1906 and 1961 both at Royal Academy art exhibitions and at international exhibitions in Pittsburgh, USA, Rome and Venice in Italy and Paris in France.

During the First World War, Reginald volunteered with the Red Cross and served as an ambulance driver on the Italian Front with the Third Red Cross Ambulance Unit of The British Red Cross Society and Order Of St John Of Jerusalem.

Reginald was the founder member of the Wharfedale Group and was Vice President of The Yorkshire Union of Artists.  He was a successful artist during the 1920’s, establishing a reputation as one of the leading landscape artists of North Yorkshire.  The National Gallery of New South Wales purchased his painting of ‘A Northern Winter.’

In 1933, Reginald married Lena F. Worthington, who was also an artist. Lena deferred to her husband as an artist and instead began to decorate porcelain - the tea sets, plates and bowls she embellished were beautiful.

Reginald died on 27th November 1960 at his home in Masham, Yorkshire.


Annie kindly gave me permission to share the photograph of Reginald from her website.

Painting: "Doberdo Village on the Carso"

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Gilbert Rogers (1881 – 1956) – British artist

With thanks to Historian Debbie Cameron for finding some of the information about Gilbert and to War Art on Twitter for providing the inspiration -

Gilbert was born in Freshfields, Lancashire (near Liverpool) on 9th November 1881. His parents were William Rogers and his wife, Sarah Jane Rogers, nee Searle. Gilbert had the following siblings: Harry, b. 1879, Wlliam, b.1881, Gladys N., b. 1884 and Guy, b. 1888.

By 1901, Gilbert was studying art at the Liverpool Art College.

During the First World War, Gilbert served on the Western Front in the British Army’s Royal Army Medical Corps with the rank of Temporary Lieutenant, No. 78529.

Among the paintings Gilbert did during WW1 were:  “Ypres 1915”, “RAMC at Messines”, “VAD Ambulance Driver” and “The Dead Stretcher Bearer”.

In 1918, Gilbert was appointed by the Committee for the Medical History of the War to lead a team of artists who were asked to depict the medical consequences of warfare.  He headed a group of artists commissioned to produce works for the medical section of the newly-created Imperial War Museum in London.

One of his works was more than 11 feet high and 15 feet wide, it was one of several large canvases displayed in Imperial War Museum’s first home at the Crystal Palace in Penge Peak, Sydenham Hill, south London.  From 1922 – 1923, Gilbert was President of the Artists’ Club in Liverpool.

Gilbert married Gertrude Jane Iceton in 1924.  The couple lived in Beresford Road, Birkenhead, Wirral during the Second World War. Gilbert died in Birkenhead in 1956.

The portrait of Gilbert Roger as President of the Artists' Club, Liverpool, 1922-23 was painted by Frank Copnall (1870 – 1949).

Sources: Find my Past and

Thursday 9 August 2018

Guy Lipscombe (1881 – 1952) – British artist

With thanks to Sergio Sbalchiero for telling me about Guy Lipscombe and inspiring
me to research the lesser-known artists of the First World War

Guy was born on 22nd August 1881 in Kingston, Surrey, UK. His parents were Henry Rogers Lipscombe, a water filter maker, and Alice Emma S. Lipscombe, nee Rogers.  Guy had the following siblings: Warren, b. 1879, Lionel, b. 1880, Hugh, b. 1883, Doris, b. 1887, Ethel, b. 1889 and Basil, b. 1891.   The family lived in Marylebone, London, UK.

Guy studied art at The Royal Academy School of Art in London.

In 1903, Guy Lipscombe was commisioned by the London Temple Press to illustrate motor sport for “The Motor” magazine which was founded in January 1903. In 1906, Guy painted the famous British Rail Recruitment Office Posters Britishers enlist to-day with the Union Jack, which was used again in WW1.

In 1907, Guy painted an oil painting that is on display on the staircase of the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) in London. It depicts a scene from the French Grand Prix held in Dieppe on 2nd July 1907 and shows Felice Nazzaro ( Fiat 130 HP Corsa) and Claude Richez ( Renault AK ).

From 1908, Guy Lipscombe held exhibitions of his work at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Dudley Museum and Art Gallery and the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.

During the First World War, Guy volunteered as a driver with the Britsh Red Cross and served with No. 3 British Red Cross Ambulance Unit on the Italian Front in Italy, where he painted several pictures:

The Arrival of the First Guns on the Carso Front, Italy 1916
A First- Line of Line Dressing Station, Doberdo, Isonzo Front, Italy (1917) British Red Cross Ambulance, Italian Front, 1916 (1918),
Castelfranco: Italian Troops resting on Route to the Piave Front (1918)
A Group of Casualities in a Room under a Gas Lamp (1919).

After the war, Guy married Effie L. Mozley-Stark in Kensington, London in 1919.   In 1934 he painted the official portrait of Lady Emily Roney, who was the first woman Mayor of Wimbledon from       1933 to 1935 .

By 1939, Guy was divorced and living in Saffron Waldon, Essex.  He painted ‘Invasion Training in Cornwall’ which is now in the Welcome Trust collection.

Guy died in Kent in 1952.

Sources:  Find my Past and Free BMD.