For over a century the picturesque seaside town of Walberswick has inspired generations of artists. Looking back with fondness on summer vacations and days on the beach, the stunning scenery has encouraged artists to capture the beauty of the Suffolk coast in their work.
Local artists too have drawn inspiration from their town. Between 1931-2 the local artist J. Donman Turner painstakingly recorded the buildings of the town in a 200ft scroll. He paid particular attention to the signs and notices he saw which included one notice: ‘lost tortoise’.
During the 20th century collections of Walberswick artwork were displayed at the Chappel Galleries in Essex, bringing in viewers from across the UK. In more recent years the exhibition has moved closer to home when in 1999 the Walberswick Local History Group appealed for art collectors to display paintings inspired by Walberswick in the village hall, to great success.
The exhibition brought to light a work by Edith Peile, a local artist whose work depicted a horse in a stable. The horse is thought to be from Valley Farm, the well-known house of Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Walberswick. The region’s most renowned visiting artist, Philip Wilson Steer (1860-1941) who was a contemporary of Peile was also familiar with the farm and may well have also drawn inspiration from a stay there.
For many Steer’s work provides the idealised image of the Suffolk coast. Inspired in his relaxed and convivial scenes by families playing on the beach at Walberswick for many families across the UK Steer’s work serves as a reminder of happy summer memories.