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James Patchell Chettle, portrait by fellow Manchester Academy member Mary McNicoll Wroe (1861-1955).
This feature came into being during research for another web project entirely: the life and times of John Cassidy (1860-1939), Manchester sculptor. In 1922-3 Cassidy created a bronze statue and two plaques for the war memorial in the town of Stourbridge, Worcestershire, the overall design of which was by Ernest Pickford of the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts. The resulting article can be read on the John Cassidy website.
Looking further into the life of Ernest Pickford, I discovered that he had lived for many years in the Davenport area at 19 Hazelwood Road, Woodsmoor, and while reading his December 1944 obituary I found, by sheer coincidence, on the same page of the Stockport Advertiser, an obituary for James Chettle, a painter, who also lived in Davenport and had a significant reputation in his day.
Maybe it is time that some recognition was given to people who, although not born in Stockport, chose to make the town their home for the prime of their lives. Here is one of them.
- Charlie Hulme, January 2018.
James Chettle: an Appreciation.
by 'W.M.R.' from the Manchester Guardian.
[William Maxwell Reekie (1869-1948) was a fellow member of the Academy, and a friend of Chettle, also a businessman in the textile industry.]
His subjects were mainly landscapes, both in oil and watercolour, and his favourite subjects were the uplands of Derbyshire and the low-lying marshes of Suffolk. No fewer than fifteen public galleries have bought examples of his work. They include Manchester, Salford and Stockport. He had several one-man shows, notably one of watercolours at Salford Art Gallery two years ago.
There was no art institution in the the district which had not his support, and he was chairman and later president of the Royal Manchester Institution. He was in 1934 President of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts.
He was a man of kindly and sympathetic nature, especially towards his brother painters. All that he asked for was sincerity, and I remember him telling a young artist, who had described to him the subject he had chosen for his next work, "Yes, that should make a good picture, especially if you can put into it something of the pleasure you felt when you selected it."
One-Man Show by Cotton Trade Artist
Dundee Evening Telegraph, 30 September 1938
Known to Manchester as the man in the cotton trade who does a bit of painting, and to the rest of the country as a distinguished artist, Mr James P Chettle held his first one-man show at Manchester Academy of Fine Arts in Acomb Street to-day.
For years Mr Chettle has been adding to his reputation as a painter, particularly of Derbyshire, which he knows well, and this exhibition of 50 drawings and paintings includes some particularly fine oils of the Derbyshire Countryside.
His work is to be found in permanent connections up and down the country, and he is a member of the Royal Society of British Artists.
Mr Chettle is head of the firm of James P. Chettle Ltd., merchants, of Brazil Street, and it was the chance visit of a well-known painter to his office just after the war that set him painting. On the wall were one of two water-colour sketches, and Mr Chettle was advised to send them to a Manchester exhibition. They were accepted and hung. Mr Chettle has painted ever since.
These Business Men Turn to Art
Manchester Evening News, 27 January 1939
What do the men of Manchester's Big Business do with their spare time? Some start work again to relax. Others ... devote themselves to hospital work.
You will find all the clues at the Manchester Art Gallery. They are hung on the walls, and form part of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts Spring Exhibition. which will open next Thursday.
The exhibitors are all members of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, the president of which is James P. Chettle. He has a share in Lancashire's cotton trade and
runs his own business in Manchester.
Derbyshire is the secret of his success as a painter. "my husband loves the hills," Mrs Chettle told me today. "And as we spent the early part of our lives in Derbyshire I think that mus be the reason why so many of my husband's paintings feature scenes there."
Other business men - artists, Mrs Marion Broadhead, secretary of the Academy, told me today, get their inspiration from their travels. Either they paint at home or in studios.
There are 343 pictures and pieces of sculpture in the exhibition. The majority have been done by members of the Academy, all of whom live, or have lived, withing an area 25 miles round Manchester, or have Manchester connections.
The Academy is proud that among its members are Francis Dodd, R.A. and A.R.A.'s Charles Cundall and T.C. Dugdale.
New Mills Petty Sessions, 1902
(Reported in the local press)
There was an interesting case in which Mr. James Chettle, a gentleman living at Mellor, was summoned for keeping a ferocious dog. The prosecution was undertaken by the police, to whom the case had been reported by the Post Office authorities. Miss Hannah Wild, a letter carrier, was attacked by the dog, a large St. Bernard, who flew at her and bit her. It had attacked her on a previous occasion, when the defendant paid her doctor's bill and also the damage to her clothing. It had on one occasion attacked and bitten a neighbour named Frank Clayton, who had fetched a doctor to the defendant when he was ill, and the doctor ran round the corner. (Laughter.)
The defendant expressed regret, and said the dog was a very valuable pedigree animal and generally quiet. He had since kept it chained up, and had a letter box placed on his outer gate. The Bencj made an order for the dog to be kept under proper control. and the owner to pay the costs.
Some paintings by Chettle owned by local galleries (not normally on display, unfortunately)
Manchester Art Gallery:
'The Grain Warehouse' (1931)
'Early Morning, Poole Harbour' (1937)
'Pulteney Bridge, Bath' (1938)
'Green Door, Wareham, Dorset' (1940)
'War Memorial, Manchester' (1941)
In 1941 he took to painting the devastation in Manchester brought about in December 1940 by German bombing. This stark landscape 'War Memorial' shows the ruins of Major Street, site of his former workplace. The Watts warehouse can be made out in the background.
'Bloody but Unbowed (Portland Street, Manchester)' (1941)
Chettle wrote 'I have tried to express more than a mere record ... is it too much to hope that no further subjects of this kind will be presented to us?'
'A Derbyshire Farm' (1941)
'Green Pathway' (1942)
Salford Art Gallery
A winter evening, Derbyshire (1938). Donated by the artist in 1942.
Stockport Art Gallery
Old Swanage, Dorset (1936)
Above the Valley (1943). This large oil painting (see main text), which was presented by Stockport native and cotton agency owner Fred Beech, was included in an exhibition of landscape paintings entitled 'This Green and Pleasant Land' at Stockport Art Gallery which ran from October 2011 to 1 June 2012; a rare chance to view a Chettle painting in Stockport, along with works by other Manchester Academy members including J.Anderson Hague (The Coast near Deganwy) and R.G. Somerset (A Waterfall).
Works from the Artuk collection are reproduced here under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence.
If you know of Chettle paintings in other galleries or collections, please contact us.
Davenport in 1944
December 1944 was a traumatic time for Davenport, as well as for the Chettle and Pickford families On Christmas Eve, just a few days after James's death, the horror of airborne warfare reached our quiet suburb. A V-1 flying bomb launched from a Heinkel bomber over the North Sea landed in Garner's Lane, destroying two houses and damaging many others; one man died following the attack and many people were injured.
At the time, the garages on Oakfield Road were in use for the the maintenance of US Army vehicles, and American soldiers were among those who were soon on the scene to help.
One man who lived nearby and died some time after the attack (although it was reported that he was already ill) was 75-year-old Joseph Briscoe, who back in 1907 had been listed in a Stockport street directory as a 'contractor' and tenant of 'The Cottage.'
Contributions are very welcome at at email@example.com
James Patchell Chettle: Davenport Artist