Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole (1884 - 1941)

1. Sir Hugh Walpole (1884 - 1941)
Photograph and signature from 1937

Displayed in Keswick Museum and Art Galley
[Photograph copied with permission]
2. Painting of Hugh Walpole completed in 1939
By Reginald Grenville Eves (1876 - 1941)

Displayed in Keswick Museum and Art Gallery
3. Bronze bust of Sir Hugh Walpole
By Sir Jacob Epstein (1880 - 1959)

Displayed in Keswick Museum and Art Gallery
4. Where Sir Hugh Walpole rests for evermore: 
His headstone in St John's Churchyard, Keswick

5. Brackenburn, overlooking Derwentwater
Sir Hugh Walpole's former home in the Lake District 
For additional information, click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Photographs 1 – 3 (above) show part of the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery’s collection about the writer and early wartime radio broadcaster Sir Hugh Walpole (1884 - 1941). The signed photograph of him in his study dates from 1937 [Photograph No. 1].

Although not born or raised in the English Lake District, Hugh Walpole had a house, Brackenburn, not far from Keswick in central Lakeland from 1923 until 1940. This house, with views over Derwentwater is situated below the fell Catbells. Many of his best known works, especially ‘The Herries Chronicles’, are largely set in and around English Lakeland. However Hugh Walpole also retained a house in London. He also worked for M.G.M. in Hollywood in the 1930s, writing the scenarios for the films ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’.

Hugh Walpole was well connected in artistic and literary circles. Many of the best known artists, sculptors and writers stayed as guests of Hugh Walpole at Brackenburn. One of these was the British painter Reginald Grenville Eves (1876 – 1941) who was an ‘Official War Artist’ to the B.E.F. in 1940, about a year before his death. Eves is noted portrait paintings of many of the British military, cultural and political figures between the wars, including at least one of Hugh Walpole dating from 1939 [Photograph No. 2].

The American-born British bohemian and often controversial sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein (1880 – 1959) was believed to have been another of Hugh Walpole’s guests at Brackenburn. Hugh Walpole was a keen collector of art, a large part of which is now in Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. One of the pieces bequeathed to the museum is a bust of Hugh Walpole by Jacob Epstein, possibly completed while the latter was staying at Brackenburn [Photograph No. 3].

Hugh Walpole died suddenly after a heart attack in 1941 while at Brackenburn. His final resting place can be found at St John’s Churchyard, Keswick, Cumbria [Photograph No. 4].

Saturday, 25 July, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Wartime broadcasts and sudden passing

Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole was born in Auckland, New Zealand, the elder son of Rev. George Henry Somerset Walpole and Mrs Mildred Helen Walpole (nee Barham). Between the World Wars Hugh Walpole became a well-known author, writer and eventually broadcaster. In 1929 he collaborated with J.B. Priestley on the novel 'Farthing Hall'.

In the early part of the war a number of well-known literary figures such as Hugh Walpole and J.B. Priestley broadcast on the BBC with some broadcasts made for the American audience at the time when the USA was still neutral. This was a period of the war when radio broadcasts were particularly important in maintaining morale throughout the Free World. Yet, in the modern era it is easy to overlook the importance of these broadcasts although J.B. Priestley spoke about them for the Thames TV documentary series about the Second World War, "The World at War".

Walpole's literary style and most of his extensive collection of writings have rather fallen out of fashion since the Second World War, except perhaps in his adopted Cumbrian homeland. As explained above, Sir Hugh Walpole died suddenly after suffering a heart attack at his Lakeland home, Brackenburn near Keswick, Cumberland on 1 June 1941. Hence his writing and broadcasting ceased.

The eldest son of a former Bishop of Edinburgh, Sir Hugh Walpole was laid to rest in St John's Churchyard, Keswick, Cumberland (now Cumbria).

The headstone inscription is given below.

(Front face at base of the decorative cross):

"In loving memory of
1884 - 1941
Man of Letters
Lover of Cumberland
Friend of his fellow men."

"Every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God."
I. John IV.7

(Right-hand side of the base):

"Elder son of
G.H.S. Walpole
Bishop of Edinburgh
Mildred Helen
His wife."

Saturday, 25 July, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Brackenburn, overlooking Derwentwater and the Borrowdale valley can be seen in photograph No. 5. This was Hugh Walpole's country home in the English Lake District between 1923 and 1941.

Although not in the best of health, Hugh Walpole had been heavily involved in the "War Weapons Week" fund raising in Keswick and district at the end of May 1941. He had even given a speech and taken part in a long hike, which may have been too strenuous for someone suffering from diabetes.

Hugh Walpole had travelled widely in his life, including two visits to Germany in the 1920s where he had met Adolf Hitler on a number of occasions before Hitler's rise to power. Walpole later wrote that one thing he had not detected about Hitler was his evil. Hugh Walpole also later described Hitler as "... shabby, unkempt, very feminine, very excitable ... "fearfully ill-educated and quite tenth-rate".

For Hugh Walpole, the Borrowdale valley was where he was most at home, writing:

"In this valley, I have found the whole world”.

It was at Brackenburn, overlooking Derwentwater and the Borrowdale valley, that Hugh Walpole died of a heart attack on 1 June 1941. The house is now privately owned although he did bequeath a large part of his art collection to the Tate Gallery in London.

Sunday, 14 February, 2016  

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