While I was growing up, the life and works of my grandfather, Ulric Walmsley, were completely hidden from me. I've never fully understood why (although I suspect that it was a falling out between Leo and Ulric), and sadly, I never even met him despite the fact that he lived until I was eleven years old.
But when I started attending the Walmsley Society, I began to learn about Ulric and his paintings, and while visiting my cousin Sheila, she was kind enough to let me into her attic and gave me several paintings that had been stored there. I took them back to the US and had them cleaned up and framed. This started my collection of Ulric's paintings, and I'm eternally grateful to Sheila's generosity.
Here are a few of the paintings she gave me:
These paintings have given me enormous pleasure, and I see them every day. But having started a collection, I became anxious to acquire more of them, and bit by bit, I did so. The first opportunity arose when a person in Ohio wrote to Marilyn Barraclough asking if anyone might be interested in buying a watercolour of Robin Hood's Bay by Ulric. Marilyn kindly forwarded the offer to me, and I bought it:
When it first arrived, it looked like this and I suspect was in its original frame.
But now that the painting has some breathing room around it, it almost looks like a completely different painting.
The next opportunity came, again through Marilyn Barraclough, for an oil painting by Ulric that a gentleman in Hamburg, Germany wanted to sell. At first, I wasn't sure it was by Ulric. I'd never seen any of his early oil paintings, and especially none with flowers as a subject. Anyway, I was suspicious because of the signature, which didn't look at all like Ulric's--well not from the paintings I already owned.
But I need not have worried. After some hurried emails back and forth between members of the Society, it turned out that Ulric's signature varied across the years, and he had painted several pictures of flowers.
Here is the painting:
The next acquisition came from a family member, so despite the fact that it isn't signed, it has a clear provenance. Until very recently, we had no idea when or where it was painted, but thanks to Nick Foggo, he came across a postcard that pretty much nails the place--in Polperro, Cornwall (see below). It's in pristine condition, and I'm the first to frame it and hang it on a wall. It is one of my very favourite Ulric watercolours.
Here's a thumbnail of the cottage painting:
Now, for more recent acquisitions. These came about through the mediation of Keith Handley, who negotiated a private sale from a long-time resident of Robin Hood's Bay. One painting was of a cottage. When I showed the paintings at the 2011 meeting of the Society, a member came up to me and said, "That's the White House Farm." And that led to a diversion on Jane Ellis' traditional Sunday walk--to the White House farm, where several of us convinced ourselves that it was indeed the subject of the painting.
But it was not to be White House Farm. Instead, it turns out that it's actually a cottage about a quarter-mile from RHB, called "Cross Keld".
Here's a comparison (below) of the Ulric painting with a photo of Cross Keld (by Margaret Holmes, and reproduced by kind permission). No doubt as to the cottage that Ulric painted in 1909!
For a more detailed account of how this little mystery was solved, I refer you to Marilyn Barraclough's article in the Autumn 2011 edition of the Walmsley Society Journal (pp.24-25).
And for the story of how Keith Handley negotiated the sale of these and two other Ulric paintings, read his article in the Walmsley Society Journal (Autumn, 2011, pp. 21-23).
Along with the "Cross Keld" painting that Keith Handley negotiated, I bought the only Ulric painting I own that has sailing boats depicted. It was in a huge frame when I purchased it, and several of us pried it from the frame so I could carry it back in my hand luggage to the States. I've since had it framed in a more modern matte, and it's become a favourite picture hanging on a bedroom wall.
In July 2013, I added to my collection, thanks to a friend of mine I taught with in a school in England in the late 1960s. This is an oil painting of houses just beyond Bridge End, painted in 1900. The painting itself is 19" x 25.5" .
Here is a detail from the painting:
Here's what the view looks like today:
In December, 2013, an opportunity arose to acquire two Ulric watercolours from a lady who ironically lives just half-an-hour from my home. Her mother, Margaret Wilson (nee Pickering) was English, and had purchased them probably in Yorkshire. That they ended up in the Albany, New York area is quite a coincidence. They were bought together (the price on the back was 10/6 each), and the back of one of the pictures had "Mrs Wilson" pencilled in, so perhaps she was the original owner.
In Spring, 2014, I purchased two Ulric paintings from a person in the Isle of Man, and was able to pick them up in person at the Walmsley Society in May, 2014. They now hang on the dining room wall beside the large oil painting. It's wonderful to have an oil and watercolour painting of the same view!
This is my latest acquisition, purchased from a couple in Western Canada. I think what attracted me to this watercolour were the soft pastel colours--something different from similar paintings in my collection. Also, the painting is in pristine condition.