The history column with The High Wolds Heritage Group member Keith Holtby: The search for A.W. Carter paintings to complete a comprehensive record

These watercolours by A.W. Carter were part of a variety of drawings and paintings on display in an “Exhibition of Art” in the Grange annexe, Acklam, in June 1943.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 4:04 pm
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 7:36 am
This painting by A.W. Carter was on display in the Grange annexe, Acklam, in June 1943.
This painting by A.W. Carter was on display in the Grange annexe, Acklam, in June 1943.

These watercolours by A.W. Carter were part of a variety of drawings and paintings on display in an “Exhibition of Art” in the Grange annexe, Acklam, in June 1943.

In that exhibition, the paintings consisted chiefly of Acklam scenes – the village street, houses, farms, farm buildings and stackyards.

The artist’s primary objective was to obtain a pictorial record of rural life and scenes before it was all swept away in the post war years.

This painting by A.W. Carter was on display in the Grange annexe, Acklam, in June 1943.This painting by A.W. Carter was on display in the Grange annexe, Acklam, in June 1943.

The village has a charm of which it is unconscious and Mr Carter succeeded admirably in portraying this.

The characteristic long grey walls and russet roofs of the two centuries’ old buildings were faithfully reproduced.

There was an unobtrusive study of an old farm cart, and here Mr Carter skilfully conveyed to his public the dignity of its lines and its innate craftsmanship.

There were impressive studies of buildings caught in a November sunlight, which accentuated the effects of light and shade.

This painting by A.W. Carter was on display in the Grange annexe, Acklam, in June 1943.This painting by A.W. Carter was on display in the Grange annexe, Acklam, in June 1943.

In addition one corner of the exhibition was given over to a display of watercolour sketches of more than 60 of the local inhabitants, which aroused much interest.

All the pictures were on sale and Mr Carter generously promised that the proceeds would be invested during “Wings for Victory “ week, for the village Welfare Fund.

Acklam was very fortunate in having a man of Mr Carter’s calibre, originally from Little Horton, Bradford, he was for 30 years Art Master at St Dunstan’s in London.

Since retiring to Acklam with his wife Lucy in 1932, to live with their son Oliver at Beck House, he devoted much of his leisure time to the making of these pictures, and to the cultural life of the village.

Today, only a handful of these paintings remain in Acklam, nearly all have dispersed into the wider community during the intervening years.

The Acklam Archives team is appealing to anyone who may have one of these paintings (including portraits), or to trace their whereabouts, and then, if possible, to make copies (maybe photograph the larger framed ones).

The aim and wish, is to have a comprehensive record of Mr Carter’s unique legacy, that reveals now, a bygone era, for future generations to enjoy, in the village that inspired their creation, so it does not get lost forever in the mists of time.

If you can assist regarding the paintings please contact Acklam Archives c/o Keith Holtby by emailing [email protected] or calling 01653 658402.