Category Archives: England

Enhance your Family History Project with Paintings!!

The Black Arch on the Causeway Coastal Route.

                 The Black Arch on the Causeway Coastal Route.

By way of a diversion I thought I might introduce you to an idea I had some years ago which can add some extra interest to the documenting of your Family History project.

Researching the historical background of your family is fascinating but can produce a lot of data and alas that data, whilst interesting to the researcher, does not  make interesting reading for the younger members of your family who may  (??)  one day, show some interest in all that research. I guess it is not till we all advance in years that the history of our families becomes a bit more interesting anyway!

Just leaving the succeeding generations all the data is unlikely to be a successful strategy so producing some form of booklet or document is most likely to be a more useful hand me down for the future. Paper is not  much in fashion these days but a paper book or document, maybe also produced as an eBook as well, is still very likely to stand the test of time.

Even for bloggers like us paper is a good solution for long term storage of all that hard work documenting the past few hundred years.

The heart of your project will probably be the Family Tree but adding narrative to each of the families covered by your research will add some insight of the people in the Tree and their way of life.

I decided that to bring the project even more to life I would include as many photos of the people as I could find but that won’t take you back before the mid or late 1800’s. So to illustrate the histories of the families I decided to add some watercolours of the places they came from, sometimes as they might have been at the time, or just places that they liked to visit. Paintings of the Churches they were married in seemed an obvious choice and where possible the houses they once lived in. Even if these have long been demolished you can sometimes find data to reconstruct the scene, at least to give some context to the narrative. If your narrative can give some insight as to how they lived in years gone by this can be very interesting too. 

You will be pleased to know I am not going to bore you with my research data, but here are a few paintings that I have used to illustrate the Family History Book of the 6 major families that it covers.

First of all a couple of Churches painted as near as possible to the way they looked at the time. An earlier generation of my family were married in Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent during the exceptionally cold winter of 1911. This was the year I believe that Niagara Falls froze over too!

Kent, Minster Abbey as it would have looked in 1911

Kent, Minster Abbey as it would have looked in 1911

In the early 19th Cenury other family members were married in The Churches of Detling (then spelt

Debtling) in Kent and at Boxley Church, also in Kent

Kent, Debtling Church in 1809

Debtling Church in Kent as it looked in 1809

Boxley Church, Kent

Boxley Church, Kent

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the late 19th century some of my ancestors lived in the middle house below West Malling in Kent.  Here I have tried to reconstruct the scene in 1891. He was the local Weights and Measures Inspector, an inserting job, which invloved testing the beer in the local breweries almost every day!

West Malling in Kent in 1891

West Malling in Kent in 1891

The earliest record that I have so far managed to find is of a wedding in Lenham Church in 1628. I don’t think they had Linseed growing in the fields then but my painting tries to show it anyway!

Lenham Church

Lenham Church

Lastly some branches of my family and my wife’s family hail from Northern Ireland.

So here is the Church of St Anne in Belfast where a marriage took place in 1869. The Church was demolished in the 1890’s and the fine (and still standing) St Anne’s Cathedral was built on the site.

St Anne's Church in Belfast in 1869

St Anne’s Church in Belfast in 1869

Northern Ireland,Carrickfergus - Version 2 (Mandy and Drew)

                                                                          Carrickfergus

And lastly we had, and have, close associations with the whole beautiful Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland. This spectacular coastal route has featured in a number of my previous posts. So here is a watercolour of Carrickfergus, the beginning of the Causeway Coastal route and a town with many associations with our families.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this diversion. Back to more recent travels soon!

Brian

Kent, the “Garden of England”

Have look at my new page on Oast Houses in Kent.

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Oast Houses at Horsmonden in Kent

Hi everybody

Regular readers of this blog will know how much we love the south of France, and I seem to post about that area quite a bit.

But this week driving around our native Kent I was reminded how beautiful the countryside is right here , just on our doorstep.

We are lucky to live in this lovely part of the UK with it’s green fields, Oast houses, Castles and Gardens. 

With the weather being cold I have been painting some local scenes from photos  and looking back at some paintings from the past year or two and so I thought it was about time I shared a little bit of Kent with you all.

Quite nearby we have several fine National Trust properties. Two in particular, Sissinghurst Castle and gardens, and Scotney Castle have exceptional gardens. Each has unique features but they fit in so well to the lovely countryside around them.

Kent has been known as the Garden of England since Tudor times I believe, and it remains a County that produces a lot of soft fruit, apples, pears, cherries and vegetables. The Spring blossom is spectacular but that is for another day.

These watercolours try to capture a little of the beauty of the area. Scotney with its collections of Azaleas, and Sissinghust famous for it’s gardens and colour.

I hope you like these watercolours and enjoy this quick “visit” to Kent.

Happy travelling and painting!

Brian

http://www.brianswatercolours.com

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Part of the gardens at Sissinghurst Castle

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The ruined castle and gardens at Scotney Castle in Kent

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Fields of rape seed near West Malling in Kent

 

 

 

 

At last the sun is out!

Horsmonden Church and oasts in the Weald Watercolour 11inches by 6.5

Horsmonden Church and Oasts in the Weald
Watercolour 11 inches by 6.5

This winter it seemed as if the rain would never stop, then late last week and since the weather in the South of England has really improved and the sun has been shining.

It inspired me to get out and go to the Weald of Kent and there, near Horsmonden Church your will find this Springtime scene.   I hope you like my interpretation of it!

The Church dedicated to St Margaret is about 2 miles from the Village centre. This is attributed to the centre of the village moving in the 17th Century to where a foundry had been established by John Browne. It was a large employer and the village thus migrated to be nearer the foundry. The foundry closed in 1685, but the village has remained at the  Heath.

The term Weald is an old English word for Forest as this area was once heavily forested, even today there are many fine woods and copses across the area.

Anyway I hope wherever you are the weather is fine, we certainly hope it stays fine here and everywhere will get a chance to recover from all that winter rain.

Enjoy your travels

Brian

Brrr! It’s Cold outside!

Well folks, here we are in December and it is getting decidedly chilly!

Soon they tell us the snow will arrive. It always makes for interesting watercolour scenes!

So here is post of some Snow Scenes, some new and some from my archives, with just hint of the warm sun that will one day return!

Christmas will soon be here, so my best Wishes to you all and a Happy New Year painting!

We have a few trips planned for 2014 and they will provide watercolours for next years blogs.

Thanks for all your support this year and enjoy these paintings and the coming festivities!

“Yule”ly yours

Brian

First snow in Provence

First snow in Provence

Gourdon in provence in the snow

Gourdon in provence in the snow

The Frozen Fountain at Mons in Provence

The Frozen Fountain at Mons in Provence

Rye in Kent at Christmas

Rye in Kent at Christmas

Horsmonden in Kent

Horsmonden in Kent

Snow at Leeds Castle in Kent

Snow at Leeds Castle in Kent

Kent, Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey

Kent, Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey

St Margaret's Church at Barming in Kent

St Margaret’s Church at Barming in Kent

A village in Kent

A village in Kent

Mount Cook in New Zeeland- Lucky for them it's Summer there now!

Mount Cook in New Zealand- Lucky for them it’s Summer there now!

And so for a bit of sunshine!     This December we were lucky enough to be able to sit on the Quay at Villefranche sur Mere on the Cote d’Azur and enjoy sunshine while we ate lunch. This is the view from there across to Cap Ferrat.

Cap Ferrat from Villefranche

Cap Ferrat from Villefranche

A Weekend in Cornwall

Recently we were able to spend a long weekend in Cornwall, firstly with some good friends in Rock, and then at a lovely hotel at Carbis Bay near St Ives.

Cornwall has the loveliest coast and wonderful little harbours and towns dotted along the spectacular cliffs and bays.

There wasn’t much time to paint but here are the few that I managed to get done both during and since the visit.

You could spend a lifetime exploring the coast of Cornwall, so these few days were great reminder of holidays of many years ago, and an opportunity to enjoy our friends’ company and eat some great food.

If you are going to St Ives do look up the Boskerris Hotel, really very nice indeed.

From a genuine Rick Stein Cornish pasty in Padstow to exceptional food at Nathan Outlaw’s restaurant in Rock this was very enjoyable weekend, and we were fairly lucky with the weather too!

I hope you too like these paintings of the area. I don’t think I can quite get to the standard of the galleries in St Ives but painting these watercolours was great fun.

Enjoy your travels too!

Brian

Port Quin on the North Coast

Port Quin on the North Coast. 11inches by 7

The surfers bay at Polzeath

The surfers bay at Polzeath. 11 inches by 7

St Ives Harbour

St Ives Harbour. 11 inches by 7

Priest's Cove near Lands End

Priest’s Cove near Lands End. 11 inches by 7

A very quick watercolour of St Ives

A very quick watercolour of St Ives. 8 inches by 5

 

 

 

 

 

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