The End of the Skein
Research by Jacqueline Arundel
In 1948 Charles Wilkinson of St Annes donated three engravings, two of which cannot be located: Cronies, Acc No 151 and Lady and Gentleman, Acc No 152.
However, The End of the Skein, after a painting by Walter Dendy Sadler (1854-1923), is still in the Collection. The engraver is unknown, but is possibly William Henry Boucher (1837-1906), who engraved many of Sadler’s paintings. The British Museum writes, 'Draughtsman, illustrator and etcher particularly noted for his work after W Dendy Sadler, active in London from 1883, exhibited etchings RA 1888-91'. The engraving depicts an elderly couple, sat in an elegantly decorated room, winding a ball of yarn.
Sadler was an English painter of anecdotal genre and costume pictures, well-known for his humorous scenes of life. He was born 12 May 1854 in Dorking, a market town in Surrey, England and was brought up in Horsham, West Sussex. At age 16 he decided to become a painter and enrolled for two years at Heatherly's School of Art (1870-71), subsequently studying in Düsseldorf Germany under Burfield and Wilhelm Simmler (1871–77).
He exhibited at the Dudley Gallery from 1872 and at the Royal Academy 1873-1914. His first one-man exhibition at the Lefevre Gallery was held in 1895. He lived in London until 1897, when he moved to Hemingford Grey, St Ives, Huntingdonshire, where he died 13 November 1923.
He painted contemporary people in domestic and daily life pursuits, showing them with comical expressions illustrating their greed, stupidity etc. His subjects were usually set in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries with sentimental, romantic and humorous themes. Before painting a scene he would create elaborate settings in which local villagers would often pose as models. Indeed, as he often used the same props and models, these can sometimes be seen repeated in successive paintings in different guises. The home, the inn, the lawyers office, the garden and the golf course all provided subjects for his wit and clever social observation.
A number of his paintings are in museum collections.
Tate Gallery, available on line @ http://www.tate.org.uk/
Walter Dendy Sadler paintings, BBC - Your Paintings. Retrieved 02.01.2014
R K Engen, Dictionary of Victorian Engravers, Print Publishers and Their Works (1979)