Louise Jopling – after a portrait by John Everett Millais
(1843-1933) Louise Jopling, was born Louise Goode in 1843 in Manchester. One of a family of nine, she was orphaned at a young age, and at the tender age of only seventeen, she married Frank Romer. Romer became private secretary to Baron Rothschild in Paris, but it was his wife the Baroness who first recognised Louise’s talent and encouraged her to take up art seriously, and arranged for her to train at the studio of Charles Chaplin, a British painter living in Paris.
Unfortunately, Romer was dismissed by Rothschild in 1869, and the couple returned to England. Subsequently, Louise had three of her pictures in hung in the Royal Academy Exhibition of 1871. Romer died suddenly in 1872, and Louise remarried in 1874, to the Joseph Jopling, a watercolourist. Louise Jopling became a celebrated painter of domestic scenes and portraiture, including her painting of the actress “Ellen Terry” . Her book, “Hints for Amateurs” was published in 1890. Louise’s work is represented in the Lady Lever Gallery and at the Russell-Cotes Museum in Bournemouth. A self portrait, done in 1871, is in the Manchester Art Gallery, where there is also a portrait of her made by her son, Lindsay. In 1879, the celebrated Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais, an old friend of her husband, painted a most striking and beautiful portrait of Louise which is now owned by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Louise Jopling was the first woman to be elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists.
(Born 1940) Walter Kershaw is a celebrated Littleborough-based artist who has been described as “… of an independent mind and means”. Born on the 7th December 1940, he was educated at the De La Salle College in Salford from 1951-1957, and later at Durham University from 1958-1962. Kershaw specialises in large wall murals in oils. Large scale wall murals by him are found at Hollingworth Lake and Manchester, as well as nationally and abroad, including Trafford Park, BAE Systems at Woodford, Wensum Lodge in Norwich, Manchester United, the University of São Paulo and Metro Recife in Brazil and Sarajevo International Arts Festival. The Trafford Park Mural was painted on the side of the building in 1982. Kershaw replaced it in 1993 when it was unveiled by football legend, Denis Law.He has paintings in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, has exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery and has had photographs of his murals on show at the Tate Gallery. He has also exhibited at the British Council in Berlin, São Paulo and Edinburgh. He has won many prizes for his art including the Salisbury Heywood Prize, and awards from the Gulbenkian Foundation in London and Lisbon.
Walter Kershaw enjoys travel, cricket and photography and is a member of Littleborough Cricket Club. He currently lives at his studio in Littleborough. His website is at: www.walterkershaw.co.uk.
(1819-1869) Born in Rochdale in 1819, the son of a Lancashire mill-owner and banker, Roger Fenton is now best remembered for his definitive photographs of the Crimean War. But, Fenton had a much broader portfolio, which often misses public attention. After studying at London University, Fenton studied art in London, and later in Paris under the painter Paul Delaroche. However, having had little success as a painter, in 1844 he returned to London and studied law. In 1851 he went to Paris and was immediately impressed by the work of French photographers. In 1852 he visited Russia, and his photographs were amongst the first ever to be seen in England and immediately earned him artistic notoriety. It was he who proposed the setting up of a London Photographic Society, and in January 1853 the origins of what was to become the Royal Photographic Society were set in place, with Fenton acting as its secretary for the next 3 years. As a now distinguished proponent of the new art form, Fenton photographed Queen Victoria’s family, and was appointed as the official photographer to the British Museum. Soon after the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1853 the inadequacy of medical provision became evident, more troops dying though disease than injury, and in 1855, in response to disastrous criticism of the government’s handling of the war, Fenton was commissioned to photograph it, and produced over 350 pictures of the conflict, which are largely responsible for his abiding reputation. Later, criticisms of the legitimacy of his photos were made, as it was perceived to be little more than a propaganda exercise, as he was bound to show the wellbeing of the troops, and in any case he wanted to sell his pictures, and the more gruesome realistic ones were not thought to be commercially viable. After the war he published bound volumes of his prints, but they did not sell as well as he had hoped. From a commercial viewpoint, photographs were not yet permanent enough and tended to fade over time, as an adequate “fix” was not yet available. Fenton also produced a number of Stereoscopic images, a popular format at the time. His pictures of architecture, landscapes, cathedrals and still life subjects proved much more popular. Inexplicably, his series of photographic prints from an expedition to the Scottish highlands were never published and by 1861 he had given up photography completely and returned to practising law. Roger Fenton died in 1869 at the age of forty-nine. Over 800 of Fenton’s photographs are known to exist and 600 prints are kept in the Royal Photographic Society archives.
Arthur Devis & Son
(1712-1787) The artist Arthur Devis was born in Preston in 1712 and best known nowadays for his ‘conversation pieces’ – portraits of local landed gentry and their families. His style has an unmistakably naïve quality and his figures are thought to be ‘doll-like’ in their appearance. This is probably because Devis rarely painted from life, but preferred small wooden ‘lay-figures’ or models, and tended to only include the sitter during the final stage to achieve a good likeness. Nevertheless, Devis was a successful artist and had a studio in London for some twenty years from the 1740s until his style fell out of fashion in the 1760s. His popularity was relatively short-lived and by the time of his death Devis was virtually unknown, forgotten and working obscurity. Devis’s son, Arthur William Devis, was born in London, but was registered as a Guild merchant by his father, whom, arguably, he outshone. Arthur William Devis produced many elegant and subtle paintings, and is widely considered to be the greatest painter of all the Devis family. He was also a noted adventurer, having experienced both shipwreck and debtors’ prison, and his work ranged from commercial portraiture to observations of village life in India. His most famous work, “The Death of Nelson” , exists in three versions – one in the Royal Collection, one at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and one on HMS Victory itself, where Nelson died. A substantial collection of Devis family paintings can be seen at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston.
Nick Park CBE
(Born 1958) Nick Wulstan Park was born in 1958 in Walner Bridge, near Longton in the Ribble Valley of Lancashire. He is best known as the Director and animator of the Aardman Animations Company, and creator of the popular Wallace and Gromit series of animation films made for television. He became interested in animation as a child and started making films in his parents’ attic at the age of 13. He was then a keen amateur ornithologist, and his love of birds and wildlife has continued with him into adulthood He was awarded a BA in Communication Arts at Sheffield Hallam University in 1980, and subsequently joined the National Film & Television School in Beaconsfield, where he began work on “A Grand Day Out” , the very first of his Wallace and Gromit characterisations. His first animated short to be aired was in 1975, with ‘Archie’s Concrete Nightmare’. He joined Aardman Animations in February 1985, and on completion of the film, was delighted to be nominated for an Academy Award in 1990, as well as winning a BAFTA award. In that year also produced ‘Creature Comforts’, which actually won an Academy Award, as did subsequent Wallace and Gromit films, ‘The Wrong Trousers’ and ‘A Close Shave’. Following on from a deal with DreamWorks, Aardmen Animations began work on the feature film ‘ Chicken Run’ which took over five years to complete and was released in 2000. More recently he produced ” The Curse of the Were Rabbit” . In 1997, Nick was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Nick is a devoted Lancastrian and widely praises its landscape and natural beauty.