Housed in one of Slaidburn’s oldest buildings is a treasure trove of documents, photos and information relating to the history of the upper Hodder Valley and its inhabitants.
Started in 2005, the Slaidburn Archive has gone from strength to strength, not only as a place for people to deposit local information and photos for safe keeping or to be copied, but also as an essential resource for people to research their families and the surrounding areas.
The archive, which receives no regular funding and relies entirely on grants and donations, has recently received a generous donation of 11 paintings to sell in aid of funds. The paintings are to be auctioned by Silverwoods on June 12th in its bi-monthly Fine Art and Antiques Sale at its Clitheroe auction house.
The paintings include seven local scenes by the Pendleton artist, Fred Cawthorne, who was painting in the early part of the 20th Century. Born in 1877 in York Street, Clitheroe, Fredrick Charles Cawthorne was a popular local artist that came from a family of talented artists who all had their favourite subjects and later moved to 17 Littlemoor, Clitheroe.
In 1939, Fredrick lived at 3 East View in Pendleton, where he described himself as an "artist – portrait and landscape" and was also married.
Serving his apprenticeship at Hargreaves Photographers in Clitheroe, Fredrick then worked in studios around the country, followed by Pye’s of Clitheroe. From Pye’s studios he also taught people to paint, but, in spite of this, he remained "as poor as a church mouse". He would sketch on a frame and painted on Watman’s Imperial Sheet, but if his funds did not allow he would use cartridge paper.
Fredrick died in 1940 after undergoing a minor operation and is buried at Pendleton. His local scenes are charming, often with figures or animals in the foreground.
Being a local man, he knew his subjects well and his paintings are a snapshot in time.
Fredrick loved his home village, as shown in one of the paintings of Pendleton valued at £130-£150. To be sold together is a delightful pair of water colours featuring Slaidburn and Newton bridges, valued at £170-£200. Another, the Old Hodder Bridge is valued at £100-£120. Bridges were popular and Cromwells Bridge with three figures is valued at £120-£150.
An oil painting of Bolton-by-Bowland from the entrance to the village and looking towards the church is valued at £250-£300. Slightly out of the area is a scene at Newby Bridge in Cumbria, valued at £120-£150.
His father, Elijah, was Fredrick’s mentor. He was born in 1843 and was a well-known artist in his own right having attended Clitheroe Royal Grammar School and being awarded the First Prize for Drawing in 1858. In 1861 he taught painting in Blackburn and, in the 1871 census, he is described as a "drawing master, water colour and oil painter".
Elijah died in 1913, aged 69.
One of his paintings offered for sale is a scene of Pendle from Stonyhurst with the two bridges in the foreground, valued at £200-£250.
Also included in the sale is a pair of 18th century oil portraits of an unidentified gentleman and lady, unsigned and valued at £200-£250 each.
A more modern painting is by the acclaimed artist, Michael Jackson.
Born in Preston in 1961, his speciality is wildlife and his works have commanded record prices at Sotherby’s, Chrisities and Bonham’s. He now lives in South West France, where he paints for a select clientele. His signed gouache of a barn owl in an interior, dated 1994, is valued at £400-£500 and is a rare opportunity to acquire one of this outstanding artist’s early works.
The paintings can be seen on the Slaidburn Archive website and full details of the sale, with terms and conditions, can be viewed at www.silverwoods.co.uk
Slaidburn Archive is open on Wednesday and Friday from 11am to 3pm, but visitors are asked to contact the archive first through the website www.slaidburnarchive.org or call 01200 446161.