The Families

One unknown factor in starting biographical research is whether it is possible to make contact with relatives and descendants of the subject. If found, should consideration be given to whether making contact is appropriate? Do the relatives and descendants know of their ancestor? If they do, might they have material which would enrich the research and be willing to release that information to in the case of this project, volunteer researchers?

During the course of research for the Hidden Art project we have had tremendous help from the families of the artists. Without the family of Barker Fairley we would not have had any pictures for our 2014 exhibition at the Cooper Gallery Barnsley as sadly none of his work is held in collections in the United Kingdom.

The family of John Wood Shortridge sent his work from New Zealand to be part of the exhibition. They also travelled to Barnsley to see his work exhibited in the United Kingdom for the first time. Their family knowledge of him also enriched the research already done by the Hidden Art team.

In the case of Archibald J Stuart Wortley, a relative of one of his step children added very significantly to our knowledge of Archibald’s wife. We, in return, were able to share our knowledge of Archibald.

The descendants of Thomas Witlam Atkinson could not have been more helpful in our research and are continuing that assistance for the publication of a forthcoming book about him by journalist and author Nick Fielding. In turn we were able to locate the grave of Thomas’s wife in London.

For father and daughter Kenneth and Sheila Graham, Sheila’s son was not only able to relate personal stories of both his mother and grandfather, but also loaned work for the exhibition. We were able to return his generosity by cataloguing Sheila’s work.

Various family members of the Holds and Swifts gave our researchers invaluable help with details of their ancestors’ lives which could never have been gained from the internet, archives or newspapers. The daughter of Brian Fitzpatrick was very generous in her loan of items for the exhibition and her personal account of her father gave more colour to an already colourful life.

Without his grand daughter, we would not have been able to tell the story of Samson Gilbert Daykin. A private man who had a short spell in the limelight, her father’s account of Gilbert’s life brought the real Gilbert to life.

The Art on Your Doorstep team thank all the families for their help. Without them, the project would have been the poorer.

Barnsley Art on Your Doorstep 2015

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