By Ivana Nika and Diane Halford
There is much talk in both Ann Walker’s and Anne Lister’s diaries about Ann sketching, painting and having drawing lessons (usually with Mr Browne or Mr Horner).
There are no sketchbooks belonging to Ann known to have survived, although the hunt for one continues. There has also been no discovery of any proven images of Ann Walker herself yet. There are, however, several sketches, doodles and drawings known to have been completed by Ann Walker that still exist.
This short blog will show you those images and the context in which they were created.
In the 1830s and 1840s Ann took a keen interest in her family tree, employing a local curate to find church records for her. She was researching this in order to apply to the College of Arms for a formal coat of arms for the Walker family. Please see this blog here for more details of that research and the result.
At the Calderdale Archives in Halifax, the folder CN:102 contains original research documents, such as marriage and baptism certificates, and hand drawn items by Ann Walker.
Note how Ann has signed her calligraphy practice ”Ann Walker August 20th 1835”
In the CN:102 folder, there are also many coat of arms of other Walker families that Ann has copied from the book “A display of heraldry”1 by Guillim and written out extracts of the meaning of the coat of arms next to them. Here they are displayed, on the left, alongside the original she copied.
There is one more drawing in the CN:102 folder; this time the image is colourised but is not signed. It is with the other drawings completed by Ann so this may or may not have been drawn by her.
Doodles in her own diary
Ann’s own diary was uncovered in October 2020, it covers the period of 4th June 1834 to 19th February 1835. Read about its discovery here.
In the diary, there are also three doodles that she has drawn to better visualise something that has caught her attention.
The first is doodle of a bottle rack which she saw at the Exhibition of the Arts and Products of the industry of France in Paris on 19th June 1834. Ann describes this as “a very nice double bottle rack in rows … with two supporters 4 feet high – each row being made to lift out”2. You can read about the Exhibition here.
The next doodle visualises an item that takes suckers of rose trees and plants that Ann saw on 2nd August 1834 in Chambery, France. It is described thus: “saw the preparation for taking suckers of Rose trees & plants; 3 cornered piece of sheet lead, with bottom corner cut off so branch of plant slit up just above joint first slit across, & then a little way up – then 2 holes made in lead as marked, string put thro these holes & tied to the branch or if that be too weak, to a stronger branch, then the lead doubled up like a cup below the slit sucker, & filled with earth. query does a stick support the sucker?”3
The last doodle in her diary, Ann is visiting Roman baths in Lyons on 11th August 1834. This doodle is described as “there are five arches in a row each [bay?] a perfect square centre one opposite staircase”4
Ann showed great interest in cultural and historical details of places she visited with Anne and noted many artistic features in her journal. Paintings of master-painters and sculptures in European musems made a great impression. Archaeological sites and Roman architecture were part of the regular sightseeing. A lot of details are in her journal, as well as copied parts of guidebooks she was reading at the time. This was Ann’s first trip abroad, and she made the most of it. Ann and Anne bought prints (lithographies and drawings) and brought them back home to Shibden Hall. None of these objects are known to have survived to today.
in Paris, France:West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/7
“June 19th Went to the Louvre, 20 halls of statuary. saw the celebrated statue of Diana a la Biche in Parian marble habited as a huntress holding in her left hand the bow bent down whilst with her right she seeks an arrow in the quiver suspended on her shoulder by a thong. It seems that this statue has been in France since the reign of Henry 4th.
in Lyon, France:West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/26
“August 10th … Lyons was the birth place of Philibert Delorme, Coysevox, Chabry, two Coustous, the engraver Audran, & the painter Stella – among modern artists who do honor to this city are Revoil for historical painting & Dubois for miniatures During 18th Century Jussieu, La Jourette, Abbé Rozier & Bourgelat flourished here – it was birth place of great & virtuous Germanicus, & at present day of celebrated natural philosopher Ampère”
at Ferney, France:West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/12
“June 30th … bought a bust of Voltaire, a view of his chateau, the verse he composed the day before his death, & an impression of his seal“
in Geneva, Switzerland:West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/18
“July 23rd … bought Prints of places we had seen en route … bought a quere old chinese head & a few other specimens”
in Chambery France:West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/19
“July 28th … went to Booksellers shop – bought prints of Savoy“
in Voiron, France:West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/23
“August 7th … agreed to take a print of Napoleon, beautifully done with a pen by Edward Hazard 1833 – price 50 francs – frame cost 20, & the carte 30″
Ann’s drawing instructors
There are also numerous accounts in Anne Lister’s later diaries where she noted how Ann practised her sketching and painting with watercolours, and what exactly Ann sketched or painted. Again, we have no knowledge about Ann’s education and training before her life with Anne Lister, but it is safe to assume she had been tutored in art at some prior point in her life.
During her years with Anne, Ann had classes with several art masters including Mr Brown(e) and Mr Horner.
Mr Browne is John Browne of York (1793-1877) and is described as ”an artist and historian of York Minster” by George Benson in his 1918 article6.
Mr Horner is John Horner of Halifax (1784-1867), landscape artist and a drawing master, as is seen from this entry in Anne Lister’s diary:
14th March 1839West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale SH:7/ML/E/22/0138
“A- had Mr Horner at 9 – […] till A- came at 11 for me to speak to Mr. Horner – told him to settle about his son’s coming to take A-‘s likeness and mine – and begged Mr. H- to get A- as fast forward in colouring as he possibly could -”
John and his son Joshua (1812-1881), portrait painter, were both well acquainted with Anne and Ann.
From Ann’s journal, while in York for a few days:
“November 26th … back to the Inn, & had a drawing lesson from Mr. Browne for 2 hours”West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/33; WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/34
With her tutor, Ann practised new techniques in drawing as in this example where Mr Horner brought camera lucida, and Anne Lister recorded it in her journal:
21st March 1839West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale SH:7/ML/E/23/0006
“expecting Mr. Horner at 8 1/2 – 1/2 hour earlier than usual in his Thursday’s lesson to A- on account of sketching the hall – brought his camera lucida, and A- and he sketched till 11.”
Ann’s mentions of art in her own diary
In her own diary, Ann mentions drawing on honeymoon or at home with Anne Lister in 1834/5 as well as collecting supplies. In London she bought a sketching stool and drawing paper to take with her to the continent. She also took three of Mr Browne’s drawings so she could practice by copying them.
“received sketching case from Mr. Browne”York, June 4th 1834, West Yorkshire Archive Service WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/2
“ … went shopping- Hammersleys, Lund – Newgate St. Rowney & Foster, 51 Rathbone Place for sketching stool – & drawing paper“London, 10th June 1834, West Yorkshire Archive Service WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/3
“Took a drawing of Screen & sofa.”Geneva, 25th July 1834, West Yorkshire Archive Service WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/19
“took another drawing of Screen & one of chair”Geneva, 26th July 1834, West Yorkshire Archive Service WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/19
” … inked over the pencil designs I took at Geneva of Sofa, screen, chair, & Bains pieds“Grenoble, 6th August 1834, West Yorkshire Archive Service WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/23
“then drew design of secretary & drawers“Saint-Etienne, 13th August 1834, West Yorkshire Archive Service WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/27
“- afterwards copied one of Mr. Browne’s drawings, a piece of rock –“Clermont, 16th August 1834, West Yorkshire Archive Service WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/29
“got to my drawing”Shibden Hall, 21st January 1835, West Yorkshire Archive Service WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/37
“got to my drawing” & “had luncheon got to my drawing – for 3/4 hour ….”Shibden Hall, 22nd January 1835, West Yorkshire Archive Service WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/37
”finished my drawing … took front section of Armoire, lent Miss Marian Lodge’s Portraits – wrote notes to Mr Browne“Shibden Hall, 23rd January 1835, West Yorkshire Archive Service WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/38
Map in letter to sister
During 1834, Ann sends Elizabeth a map of property that she has drawn, It is a map of property that Samuel Washington had let her know that work was requested at – regarding a right to the road and water pipes – stating ”I thought it best to write the business part separately and as I feared you would have some difficulty in understanding exactly what he meant I have drawn you a little plan of that part of the Golcar and Bailey Hall property to which he refers – the yellow lines refer to B. H. [Bailey Hall] and the blue to Golcar”5
References to Ann’s drawing in Anne Lister’s diaries
There are many references to Ann Walker either sketching or taking a drawing lesson in Anne Lister’s diaries. A good place to start exploring these is here on the Packed with Potential website.
In Search of Ann Walker continue to look for evidence of Ann’s life with the aim of telling the fullest story of her life as we can. We may find documents which change the way we tell her story in the future.
(1) Guillim, J., Mackenzie, G., Logan, J. (1724). A display of heraldry. 6th ed. London: Printed by T. W. Available on archive.org or Google Books
(2) 19th June 1835, West Yorkshire Archive Service, WYC:1525/7/1/5/1
(3) 2nd August 1834, West Yorkshire Archive Service, WYC:1525/7/1/5/1
(4) 11th August 1834, West Yorkshire Archive Service, WYC:1525/7/1/5/1
(5) 6th April 1834, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale CN:103/4/25
(6) G. Benson, ‘John Browne 1793–1877: Artist and the Historian of York Minster’, Annual Report of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society (1918)
Packed with Potential ”Ann Walker Sketchbook” tracker
West Yorkshire Archive Service ”Journal of Ann Walker” transcription by ISAW
The Friends of St Matthew’s Churchyard
Malcolm Bull’s Calderdale Companion
Extracts from Diaries of Anne Lister of Shibden Hall, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale including available on West Yorkshire Archive Service website:
Anne Lister – Reading Anne’s Diaries
Diary of Anne Lister of Shibden Hall, 10 March 1834-21 March 1835, 1 volume, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/17
Transcription credits: Leila Straub, Dorjana Širola, Karen Trillo.