Saturday, 19 July 2014

Two blue plaques in Notting Hill

This week I've been working in London. As I was walking to the job I passed two blue plaques....I have to admit I hadn't heard of either gentlemen I thought I'd look into them. Blue plaques are great but I'm sure most people, like me haven't a clue apart from the very brief description....and often, in our busy lives...don't have time or any interest to find out any more. They were first introduced in London 150 years ago specifically to commemorate the link between houses and notable figures....They work...I now know about two interesting men, famous 80 years ago, both having been in the First World War, but are almost forgotten now.
16 Campden Hill Square
The first one I saw was Charles name sake....1894-1958, Novelist and critic.
Charles Morgan
He joined the Royal Navy when he was thirteen and while on H.M.S. Monmouth his  Superior Officer  Christopher Arnold Forster encouraged the young Charles Morgan to write. He resigned from the Navy after seven years and briefly went to Brasenose College Oxford but was back in the Navy again when war broke out. It was during this time that he started writing his first novel, 'The gunroom'...this was initially lost when the ship he was travelling back to England sunk. He returned to Brasenose where he became involved with Drama and then became Theatre Critic for the Times.

He was very well known in the 1930's and 40's winning the James Tait Black memorial prize in 1940. He is also only the second British novelist after Kipling to be elected to the Institut of France in 1949.
More can be found about his books at Little Nell Hubpages.
The next plaque I saw was James Mc Bey 1883-1959, Artist.

Notting Hill Gate
At the age of fifteen he was a clerk in a local bank in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire..but it was when he borrowed Traité de la Gravure a l’Eau-Forte a book on etching from a library that his life changed . At twenty six he decided to become an artist. He started going to evening classes at Gray's School of Art and produced etchings at home using an old mangle.

  In 1911 he had an exhibition at the Gouphill Gallery in London. This launched his career. James McBey  later became one of Britain's greatest 20th century etchers.
He joined the Army Printing and Stationery Services as Second Lieutenant in 1916, becoming an official war artist and witnessing the slaughter on the Somme. He was then appointed official war artist to the British Expeditionary Force in the Middle East.

 It was here that he painted portraits of King Faisal and Lawrence of Arabia. He died in Tangier. After he died in Tangier,his wife Marguerite stayed in this house and also became an artist . She donated many of Jame's paintings to The Aberdeen Art Gallery.
 Click here to see a slide show of some his paintings

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