Monday, 24 June 2013

Montague Smyth & Lawrence Deller, a conscientious objector

In researching artists in order to add their pictures onto our public domain DVDs, I often get involved in the human side of things which takes me off somewhere else sometimes.......

I'm always happy to find that an artist has met an early demise which may well put their work into the public domain when it otherwise wouldn't have been.  That's awful, isn't it!  And I'm generally slightly annoyed when I find they lived a full and long life, as in the case of an artist I was researching Saturday, Walter Montague Smyth,  who had produced some lovely work for a book about Japan.  I was rather hoping to find that dates I initially found for him on the internet of 1863-1965 would prove to be wrong.  After a fairly long and perhaps slightly obsessive search of one of the family history sites (as his name was mis-spelled in the book and I didn't have his first name initially), it turned out that these dates were, in fact, correct.

Mr. Montague-Smyth died at the ripe old ages of 101 in 1965 and, sadly, I wouldn't be able to use his pictures.

I embarked on another, much quicker, search last night for someone called Lawrence Deller.  I came across a couple of his pictures in a book about London that I was fortunate enough to purchase a couple of weeks ago when my local (ish) antiquarian bookshop was having a half-price sale (me - like a child in a sweet-shop!).  Both of his pictures are lovely views of St. Paul's Cathedral.

Lawrence Deller was born in 1889 in Lichfield, Staffordshire and was the son of a law clark.  

He was called up to fight in WWI but objected on the grounds of religious principals.  The Kensington tribunal upheld his objection, being satisfied as to his claim as a conscientious objector and granted him exemption from combatant service only, which they considered to be adequate.  He appealed in order to get a fuller exemption but this appeal was rejected completely.

A number of witnesses were called to give evidence at his appeal including his wife and his head-teacher from his days at Lichfield Grammar School, but all to no avail.

You can read the appeal and ensuing discussion here:-

In fact, the appeal went one better - not only was it rejected but it over-ruled the previous decision that Mr. Deller be exempted from combatant service.

On this occasion it gave me very little pleasure to find that Lawrence Deller's death was recorded in December 1918, a month after the official end of World War I.

RIP Lawrence Deller, artist 1889-1918, age 29. 

Monday, 3 June 2013

Egypt and excuses........

I'm ashamed to say that I haven't blogged since January - and it's incredibly June already!

So many things have got in the way this year, so much so that I've only really had time to work and not to 'chat'.  

The biggest thing was no doubt the arrival, and then 'departure' of my father-in-law.  He moved in with us in January as ill-health was getting the better of him but, bless him, he was still working as a printer at the age of 84!  His first few weeks with us was fine - he was still cooking his own meals and more or less looking after himself but early February he was admitted to hospital with stomach pains, only to find that his cancer had spread to his liver.

After that he got progressively worse and needed much more care, the sort that only carers of the elderly will appreciate (!), until he finally passed away in April.

After our experiences, I admire and empathise with those who are long term carers, not an easy task at all.

Work on Printable Heaven continues though, we have to feed our ever-growing offspring somehow (that's height, not quantity of before anyone gets the wrong idea!).  

I've been loving compiling our Public Domain Image Library discs - the thrill of discovering old pictures that I know will be of interest to our customers is fabulous. Just last night I came across an old book of nearly 100 tartans that I can do so much with......

My latest completed compilations, however, have been on the subject of Egypt.  I think these will be such a great resource for primary-school teachers, the pictures are simply stunning.

This picture is by Howard Carter himself, who discovered Tutenkhamun's tomb in 1922.  I didn't know he was an artist too, I learn so much when I look for and find old pictures.

We have two new public domain image DVDs on the subject of Egypt (as I found so many pictures, they didn't fit onto one!).  Fascinating subject - take a look at