Walter Hoyle was a prominent member of the artist community of Great Bardfield , Essex and whilst he is perhaps most well known for his printing and teaching there is no doubt that his original work is of the highest quality, quite rare and much sought after. He studied at the RCA where he first met Edward Bawden and they clearly had a great deal of respect and admiration for each other and their respective work. Bawden invited Walter Hoyle to help him with a mural for the Festival of Britain and in 1951 they went on a painting holiday together in Sicily. The watercolours and gouache's that Hoyle produced on this trip are particularly good and some are held in the Fry Gallery collection in Saffron Walden and another fine example was in the Cambridge County Council art collection until sold in May 2017 at Cheffins auctions, where it realised £2,400 with commissions. So these rare works are not only hard to find but command a reasonable market value.
Clearly Bawden influenced Walter Hoyle but so did John Aldridge, who was the most traditional style painter of the village artists, painting landscapes which had a similarity to those of Stanley Spencer. He was often to be seen with his portable easel around the village and in his garden. Indeed the wonderful landscape that we have here at Blondes Fine Art depicting 'The Moors' at Great Bardfield, was one of his best known and iconic work which featured in a centre spread of the July edition of Modern Artist in 1955. (see below - top left.)
John Aldridge's garden was much admired by many of the residents as he was a keen and knowledgeable horticulturist who was described by his friend , the poet John Betjeman as 'the gardeners artist'. Aldridge had some wonderful plant specimens which included the Giant Hogweed and it was this bi-annual along with its smaller cousin of the same family - Cow Parsley - that became somewhat emblematic of the Bardfield artists and appear in many images and gardens.
Walter Hoyle was particularly fond of these plants and at certain times of the year they covered the roadside verges in the Essex villages. He depicts them in many of his work and the image at the top of this page is a great example that has only recently come to light, it has Cow Parsley in the foreground of this lovely gouache depicting an Essex Barn. Signed lower right it would be a great addition to any collection. Please do contact us for more information should you be interested in acquiring the work.
The three other images of Cow Parsley that spring to mind when talking about Walter Hoyle are the ones shown below and the first depicts a pen and ink called 'The road to Finchingfield' which is held by the Fry Gallery . The second is a photograph of Walter Hoyle and his wife Denise which depicts him sketching a vase of dried flowers with the foremost plant being Cow Parsley. Finally , there is the distinctive blue cover for the catalogue produced by Hoyle for the 1957/58 national tour of the Great Bardfield Artists exhibition and yes, you guessed it, the image is a reproduction of the pen and ink ' The road to Finchingfield'.
So this little plant, often considered a weed, held a special place in the hearts of the Bardfield artists , especially Walter Hoyle, and it can be spotted in many other works. It has a wonderful texture, creamy colour and an architectural structure that lends itself to the design work and muralists of the Modern British period. So this Spring, when you are out in the countryside, stop for a moment and consider its beauty and if it suddenly appears in your garden give it a chance and let it flourish like John Aldridge and Walter Hoyle did back in the 1950's.
Please do contact us if you are thinking of buying or indeed selling work by the Great Bardfield Artists , particularly Walter Hoyle , John Aldridge and Sheila Robinson.
Enjoy Spring 2018 - it is just round the corner!