Sir George Clausen
Sorry still working on this page
If you can help plese email me
George Clausen ,
came to Widdington Village in 1891-1905,
and he stayed at Bishop House
Sir George ClausenBy Jenifer Brooke-Smith
A PORTRAIT by Widdington artist George Clausen, which was expected to fetch up to £0.5m at auction today (Wednesday, June 15) failed to find a buyer.
The Victorian oil of farm girl Emily Wright, from the village, was part of a sale at Christie’s in London and estimated to fetch at least £300,000.
Clausen originally sold the work for just £26 and five shillings. In his account book for 1894, Clausen noted he had sold “the little head of Emmy Wright” to Vernon Wethered.
According to the 1891 Census, Emily, or Emmy as she was affectionately known, was the eldest child of Widdington-born bricklayer Frederick Wright and his Clavering-born wife, Isabel, who lived at Main Street in the village.
She was about 13-years-old when the picture was painted by Clausen in 1894. In 1891, the Wrights had five children: Emily, 10: Nellie aged eight: six-year-old James; John aged four: and Fred junior who was two. By 1901,the Wrights had five more children and in the same census Emily was listed as "an assistant school teacher".
Your website states that you are still working on the "Sir George Clausen" page and welcomes information; the following may be of some use in this regard:
The 1901 census shows the Clausen residence as Wises Farm, Widdington. This conflicts with the general view that the family rented the Bishop house from the Smith family between 1891 and 1905 (the Royal Academy's records, Jenifer Brooke-Smith's article and David Derrick's on-line blog refer). Only Agnes Clausen and the youngest child, Raymond John Clausen are shown living at Wises, however, together with their maid Mary Coe, a local girl. The two daughters (Meg and Kitty) were at school in Skipton and presumably the two older boys were away at other schools; George was visiting a colleague in London on the day of the census.
I know that the artist painted a picture of Wises (he called it Winzes) in 1905 and that he was Professor of Painting at the RA Schools from 1903 to 1906, meaning that he would have spent much of his time in London. Perhaps the Bishop house was too large for the reduced Clausen family at this time.
I hope that this information may be of some use.
Emily "Emmy" Wright is named by George Clausen as the model for the young girl in "Evening Song", painted at Widdington in 1893. I recently had the opportunity to examine many studies in pastels for this picture which are held in the Royal Academy's archives, including a very fine study of the girl's face.
Since I wrote to you I have traced the 1901 census record for Emily Wright and I was pleased to discover that she was still living at home (25, The Village, Widdington) and her occupation is given as Assistant School Teacher. Emily must therefore be the young lady standing on the far right of your 1900 Widdington school photograph and on the left of the 1901 picture. She was born in 1881, making her about 12 when she posed for "Evening Song"; her small stature makes her look younger in both the painting and your photographs, taken when she was about 19 and 20. The census shows that her grandfather James Wright, retired from his position as the village shoemaker, was also at the same address - there were then four adults (including Emily) and seven children living there. I wonder if this is the same property as "Wright's Cottage".
Ten years earlier, Emily and her parents Frederick and Isabel Wright were living at Woodend Cottage, which does not appear in the 1901 census and may be one of several houses which were demolished before that date.
Thanks again for your assistance,